Three family members of a minor league baseball player were found slain Tuesday — starting a four-hour manhunt that ended with the capture of the brother of one of the murdered women.
According to USA Today, the dead were the wife, mother-in-law and son of Blake Bivens, a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays’ Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits.
Bleacher Report identified the victims as Bivens’ wife, Emily, his 1-year-old son, Cullen, and his mother-in-law, Joan Bernard.
Their bodies were found about 8 a.m. after authorities in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, received a call that someone had been shot, according to WFLA. The county is in southern Virginia, bordering on North Carolina.
“When officers arrived on scene, they found a woman dead in the driveway of the home. After entering the residence, police discovered the bodies of a second woman and a child,” WFLA reported.
Authorities immediately began searching for Matthew Bernard, Bivens’ brother-in-law, whose age has been reported as both 18 and 19.
He was found shortly after noon running naked near a church, according to WSET, an ABC affiliate in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The church is less than a mile from the scene of the killings, WFLA reported. Bernard has been charged with three counts of murder.
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: The suspect in a triple homicide in Pittsylvania County, 19-year-old Matthew Bernard, ran toward @KyleMWilcoxTV & @humphreyWSET while they were at a staging area — he also strangled the church’s caretaker.https://t.co/4OVjvg9kkQ pic.twitter.com/cg23z2KIEX
— ABC 13 News – WSET (@ABC13News) August 27, 2019
The Rays organization released a statement expressing sympathy at the tragedy.
“Our hearts are broken for Blake. We are grieving with him and will support him any way we can. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the Bivens family and the Biscuits family during this extremely difficult time,” the statement said.
We’re with you, Blake. pic.twitter.com/gJqdUCIf7p
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 28, 2019
And they had plenty of supporters offering well wishes to the player.
I’m heart broken after reading this story. Praying for Blake and all who are suffering from this horrific tragedy. I can’t even imagine the pain that they must be feeling. May God be with them. ??
— Deena?⚾ (@CT3fanatic) August 28, 2019
May your teammate and his family feel God’s love and receive His strength. May they lean on Him for support and find the help and comfort they need. I pray for healing, as well, Lord. I ask in the name of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
— Kara O’Neal (@KaraONealAuthor) August 28, 2019
Baseball is family and braves country is with you <3 my condolences to him and his family
— Dansby Swanson’s Hair (@dansbyshair) August 28, 2019
According to WSET, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the loss.
Our hearts go out to #BlakeBivens and his family. A GoFundMe has been created to help Bivens after the loss of his wife, son, and mother-in-law in Pittsylvania County yesterday. https://t.co/pmw2I5Wpje pic.twitter.com/JAIoejtaZf
— ABC 13 News – WSET (@ABC13News) August 28, 2019
Bivens, 24, was selected by the Rays in the 2014 draft, according to Fox News.
He was a graduate of George Washington High School in Danville, Virginia, near where his family was killed, according to Fox.
CORRECTION, Aug. 29, 2019: When originally published, this article stated that Bivens was charged with three counts of murder. Matthew Bernard, Blake Bivens’ brother-in-law, was charged, not the bereaved. We corrected the article after an observant reader noticed our error. We apologize to Blake Bivens and his family for this careless error and for any further distress we may have caused during this tragic time. We also apologize to our readers for any confusion.
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