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'Unimaginable': Family of Rays Pitching Prospect Is Murdered

Blake Bivens' brother-in-law is charged in triple homicide in Virginia
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2019 7:38 AM CDT
Emily Bivens is pictured with son, Cullen.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – A pitching prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays endured two family tragedies Tuesday. First, Blake Bivens' wife, infant son, and mother-in-law were found dead at their home in Virginia. Then Bivens' brother-in-law, 18 or 19, was arrested for their murder. Matthew Bernard, the brother of Bivens' wife, was seen running naked near the Pittsylvania County home around noon Tuesday before he was detained in a church parking lot, reports Sports Illustrated. Hours earlier, police responding to a 911 call about a person who'd been shot found a woman dead in the driveway of a home, reports CNN. Inside were the bodies of another woman and child. The victims are identified as Emily Bivens, 24, son Cullen, 1, and Joan Bernard, 62, per Heavy.com, which reports the family's dog was also killed.

A GoFundMe page organized by Our Baseball Life has already raised nearly $10,000 to be given to Bivens, also 24. He was about to play for the Montgomery Biscuits, the Rays' Double-A affiliate in Alabama, when he learned the news, per the BBC, which notes a doubleheader against the Chattanooga Lookouts was postponed out of respect. "Our hearts are broken for Blake. We are grieving with him and will support him any way we can," the Rays said in a statement. Biscuits CEO Lou DiBella described an "unimaginable loss," adding "thoughts and prayers are with Blake and all those who have been impacted by this tragedy." WNCN shares photos of Bernard's arrest, in which he appears to grapple with a man. He's charged with first-degree homicide, reports ESPN's Jeff Passan. (Read more murder stories.)

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