MLB Prospect Speaks After Wife, Child and Mother-in-Law Murdered: 'My Heart Was Turned to Ash'


Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Blake Bivens on Thursday night issued his first public statement following the tragic deaths earlier this week of his wife, 1-year-old son and mother-in-law.

The three family members were found slain Tuesday morning at their home in Keeling, Virginia. They’ve been identified as Bivens’ wife, Emily; his 14-month-old son, Cullen; and his mother-in-law, Joan Bernard.

After an hours-long manhunt, authorities eventually captured Bivens’ brother-in-law, who has been charged with three counts of murder.

In a heartbreaking Instagram post Thursday night, which he also put on Facebook, Bivens expressed his grief at the tragedy while also paying tribute to each of his deceased family members.

“Two days ago my heart was turned to ash. My life as I knew it is destroyed,” Bivens wrote. “The pain my family and I feel is unbearable and cannot be put into words. I shake and tremble at the thought of our future without them.”

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Bivens attached photos of his wife, son and mother-in-law.

“Emily, my sweetheart, you are the best wife and mother this world has ever seen,” he wrote. “You made me into the man I am today and you loved me with all of my flaws. You brought our precious baby boy into this world and made our family complete. Your love and kindness changed countless lives, including mine.”

Next, he addressed his son.

“My sweet little boy, dada loves you so much!” Bivens wrote. “I can’t breathe without you here. I finally understood what love was when you were born and I would have done anything for you.

“You have changed my life forever, you are my reason why. I long to hold the both of you again in heaven. I’m so glad you are with all your Great-grandmothers now, I know they are eating you up. This earth did not deserve either of you; you were just too wonderful to comprehend.”

Then, Bivens turned to Bernard, whom he characterized as “the best mother-in-law anyone could ask for. You loved your family more than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

“You raised the most wonderful girl in the world. I’m so glad y’all are still together. You were the best Nana this world has ever seen and I will never forget you,” he said.

Bivens, who plays for the Montgomery Biscuits — the Rays’ Double-A affiliate — was on a road trip with the team when he found out about the killings. He and team manager Morgan Ensberg quickly flew to Virginia after they found out.

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“It was awful,” Ensberg said, according to The Associated Press. “Blake is an incredibly strong man. He’s an incredibly strong man, and he went through just a rotation of tearing up, and then he would shake and then he would just stare.”

“I didn’t let him out of my sight.”

It’s unclear what motivated Bivens’ brother-in-law to allegedly carry out these horrific killings.

But court documents reveal that authorities found a rifle and bloodied sledgehammer in the vicinity of where the bodies were found, The Washington Post reported.

Funerals are set to be held for each of the victims on Saturday.

Bivens, meanwhile, is doing his best to deal with this horrific tragedy.

“We will get through this together as a family,” he wrote in his post.

“We will not let the devil win! Thank you God for giving me the most wonderful family in the world! I’ve been blessed beyond belief. Thank you to all my family and friends who have reached out to me during this time of sorrow. …

“I am comforted by all the messages and well wishes. I’m not sure what is next for me, but I do know God has a plan even though I can’t see it.”

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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