Minor league baseball pitcher Blake Bivens shared his grief on social media Thursday night after the killings of his wife, their infant son and his mother-in-law, who were all found shot to death in Virginia Tuesday morning.
“Two days ago, my heart was turned to ash,” the Tampa Bay Rays prospect wrote on Instagram in a post featuring a picture of his wife, Emily, holding their son, Cullen, with Emily’s mother, Joan, standing close behind them.
“My life as I knew it is destroyed,” Bivens, 24, 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.”
Emily, Cullen, and Joan were shot to death, allegedly by Emily’s 19-year-old brother, Matthew Bernard, who has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
Bernard remains in custody without bail. Investigators have yet to disclose a possible motive for the violence.
AL.com, citing the criminal complaint against Bernard, reports that he allegedly first attacked a female neighbor before shooting the three victims with a rifle.
Bernard allegedly fled, prompting a manhunt that involved a tank at one point and even led to the lockdown of a nearby school.
The criminal complaint alleges Bernard emerged from a woods naked and went to a nearby church, where he allegedly choked an employee.
Police eventually took him into custody, placing him on suicide watch.
In his Instagram tribute, Bivens wrote that Emily was “the best wife and mother this world has ever seen,” and said she “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.”
To Cullen, Bivens said, “I can’t breathe without you here.”
The grieving dad continued: “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.”
Bivens praised his mother-in-law, writing, “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 writes that he and his father-in-law “will get through this together,” because “we will not let the devil win!”
Bivens said he has been “comforted by all the messages and well wishes” he has received since he lost his family. “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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It was unclear Friday whether Bernard has retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf. He has yet to enter pleas to the three counts of murder he faces.
A service for Emily, Cullen, and Joan is set for Saturday at Central Boulevard Church of God in Danville, Virginia, at 2 p.m. The family will receive friends before the service from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Interment will follow at Danville Memorial Gardens.