Tampa Bay Ray’s Pitching Prospect Blake Bivens Says His ‘Heart Was Turned to Ash’ After Family’s Murder

Tampa Bay Ray’s Pitching Prospect Blake Bivens Says His ‘Heart Was Turned to Ash’ After Family’s Murder
A stock photo of police tape. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

Tampa Bay Ray’s pitching prospect has commented publicly for the first time since his wife, son, and mother-in-law were murdered in southern Virginia this week.

In a heartfelt Instagram post, 24-year-old Blake Bivens said his “heart was turned to ash” when he lost his family members in a suspected triple homicide on Aug. 27.

“My life, as I knew it is destroyed. 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,” the post reads.

Describing his wife, Emily, as his “sweetheart,” Bivens wrote that she was “the best wife and mother this world has ever seen.”

“You brought our precious baby boy into this world and made our family complete. Your love and kindness changed countless lives, including mine.”

Addressing his son, Cullen, Bivens said, he had changed his life forever and that he was his “reason why.”

“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,” the 24-year-old continued.

The Class AAA Montgomery Biscuits pitcher described his mother-in-law as “the best Nana this world has ever seen” and “the best mother-in-law anyone could ask for.”

“You loved your family more than anyone I’ve ever seen—I will never forget you,” he added.

The brother of Blake Bivens’s wife, Matthew Bernard, 18, was arrested for the killings and charged with three counts of first-degree murder and placed on suicide watch, reported USA Today.

Bernard’s cousin, Jenn Stallard, said that Bernard was struggling with mental health issues.

“Unfortunately he was suffering with mental illness and came to a breaking point,” Stallard said in a statement sent to the Daily Mail. “Matthew is my cousin and I will love him and be there for him if I am ever able to because what the public has seen was not him at all and as a family, we would never imagine this could have happened.”

“As this is all still extremely fresh for our family, I remain cautious for our words not to be twisted nor our family’s name, including Matthew’s, not to be turmoiled any more than it already has,” Stallard’s statement continued.

“My main concern would just be pushing the fact that mental illness doesn’t have a type and awareness of help when needed.”

The motive behind the attacks is still being investigated, according to Pittsylvania County Sheriff Michael Taylor who spoke at a news conference on Aug. 28.

Bernard’s uncle, Bryant Bernard, said that he and his family were having difficulty understanding what happened. He asked people not to judge the situation until more information comes to light.

“Unless you know someone, you don’t know what happened,” Bryant Bernard told WDBJ. “We don’t know what happened and it’s our own family. But we have to stick together. That’s the only way this world is going to make it.”

Man Seen Running Naked

A local broadcaster captured the suspect running out of the woods near the Bivens family home with no clothes on.

“I saw a male, tall skinny male, with no clothes on running around,” a woman told reporters with WSET. “He took off running.”

Police said Matthew Bernard then ran up to a groundskeeper outside a nearby church and tried choking him.

Officers attempted to knock him back with mace and batons but weren’t able to subdue him until a police dog leaped on him. Officers handcuffed him and put him in a police car.

The Pittsylvania County Public Safety agency said Bernard was spotted at one point armed with a rifle.

At a press conference on Wednesday, officials said he banged his head against the cage in the police car once arrested, causing cuts to his head, and was taken to a hospital for treatment before being released into police custody and jailed. His booking photograph showed his head bandaged.

The Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
Related Topics