Pitcher on Murdered Family: 'Too Wonderful to Comprehend'

'My life as I knew it is destroyed,' writes Blake Bivens
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2019 9:38 AM CDT
Pitcher on Family's Murder: The Pain Is 'Unbearable'
Matthew Thomas Bernard puts his hands on Keeling Baptist Church groundskeeper Loyd Gauldin, as a state police officer attempts to take him into custody on Tuesday, in Keeling, Va.   (Caleb Ayers/Danville Register & Bee via AP)

"My heart was turned to ash. My life as I knew it is destroyed," writes Blake Bivens in his first public comments since his wife, infant son, and mother-in-law were found murdered in Virginia. "I shake and tremble at the thought of our future without them," the Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect—who currently plays for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits—writes in an Instagram post, per NBC News. He'd been about to hit the mound Tuesday when he learned his world was turned upside down. A criminal complaint alleges his wife's brother, Matthew Bernard, punched a female neighbor in the arm and fled, per WSET. The woman heard gunshots and subsequently found Joan Bernard, 62, dead in the driveway of Bivens' Pittsylvania County home around 8am. Emily Bivens, 24, and 14-month-old Cullen were dead inside. Both had been shot in the head.

Court documents note a sledgehammer was found in the garage "with blood," while a gun was found in woods behind the home. Police say Matthew Bernard emerged naked from those woods and choked a church caretaker before he was finally detained. Authorities say he then smashed his head against the cage of a patrol car, prompting a hospital visit. An uncle tells CNN that he noticed a sudden change in his church-going nephew. Another family member cites mental illness in a Facebook post, claiming Matthew "wasn't aware of what he done." Bivens' post doesn't mention him, but speaks directly to Cullen. "My sweet little boy … I can't breathe without you here. You have changed my life forever, you are my reason why." Of his wife and son, Bivens writes, "you were just too wonderful to comprehend." (More murder stories.)

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