Officials found the bodies of Emily Bivens, 25, Cullen Bivens, 14 months and Joan Bernard, 62 at a home in the town of Keeling. Pittsylvania County Sheriff Michael Taylor identified the victims publicly on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Bivens, 24, acknowledged the tragedy in an Instagram post, writing that “my heart was turned to ash.”
Police arrested 18-year-old Matthew Thomas Bernard Tuesday afternoon following a manhunt and a foot chase, charging him with all three murders. Bernard was running nude in a field when officials arrested him.
According to the Associated Press, the manhunt involved up to 100 officers, a tank and an armored car and prompted school lockdowns in the rural community near the North Carolina border.
Emily, Joan and Cullen were the suspect’s sister, mother and nephew. Officials have not declared a motive in the killings.
Taylor told reporters that a firearm was involved in the murders without going into specifics about how the victims were killed.
Bernard is being held in a local jail, where he is on suicide watch.
Bivens plays for the Montgomery Biscuits in Alabama, the Double-A affiliate of the Rays. The Biscuits canceled their scheduled double-header on Tuesday.
"All we can do is kind of put our arms around (Bivens) as an organization, him and his family, and do the best we can," Rays manager Kevin Cash said Wednesday.
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