Major League player posts tribute to slain family
AMERICAN baseball player Blake Bivens has posted a heartbreaking tribute to his wife, son and mother-in-law after their slaying in rural Virginia.
The family were found dead in their home after they were allegedly killed by 18-year-old Matthew Bernard, the brother of Bivens' wife, Emily.
Dramatic photos show Bernard sprinting naked across fields and trying to strangle the staff member at Keeling Baptist Church.
He was finally caught by police before being arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
Bivens, who is attached to Major League Baseball side the Tampa Bay Rays, has been playing minor league baseball for the Montgomery Biscuits in Alabama.
The Biscuits postponed their game against the Chattanooga Lookouts as a mark of respect and a day after the horrific news, Bivens posted an emotional tribute to his family.
"Two days ago my heart was turned to ash. 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," he wrote.
"Emily, my sweetheart, you are the best wife and mother this world has ever seen.
"My sweet little boy, dada loves you so much! I can't breathe without you here."
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Two days ago my heart was turned to ash. 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. Emily, my sweetheart, you are the best wife and mother this world has ever seen. You 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. My sweet little boy, dada loves you so much! 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. 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. Joan you were the best mother-in-law anyone could ask for. 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. Skip you are a wonderful father and grandfather. We will get through this together as a family. We will not let the devil win! Thank you God for giving me the most wonderful family in the world! I’ve been blessed beyond belief. Thank you to all my family and friends who have reached out to me during this time of sorrow. Thank you @raysbaseball @biscuitbaseball for your support through everything. I am comforted by all the messages and well wishes. I’m not sure what is next for me, but I do know God has a plan even though I can’t see it.
Bivens was inconsolable as he flew from a road trip back to southern Virginia.
"It was awful," said Montgomery Biscuits manager Morgan Ensberg, who travelled with Bivens on Tuesday (local time).
"Blake is an incredibly strong man. He's an incredibly strong man, and he went through just a rotation of tearing up, and then he would shake and then he would just stare.
"I didn't let him out of my sight."
Funeral arrangements for Blake Bivens' family - 24-year-old wife Emily Bivens, 14-month-old son Cullen and mother-in-law Joan Bernard, 62 - will be held on Sunday at Central Boulevard Church of God in Danville, according to their obituaries, which were posted online on Friday.
"Emily, a kind and gentle soul and a light to all who knew her, loved the Lord and her family with all her heart," her obituary reads.
Authorities have yet to provide a motive in the killings, but Bernard was dealing with mental health issues prior to the slayings and snapped after reaching a "breaking point," cousin Jenn Stallard told DailyMail.com.