As investigators work to determine the motive behind the murders of a Minor League baseball player’s family members, the accused killer has been placed on suicide watch.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 18-year-old Matthew Thomas Bernard, the brother of Blake Bivens’ wife, was arrested Tuesday on three counts of first-degree murder and use of a firearm during a felony. Bernard is being held without bail.
Bivens, 24, is a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays’ Minor League team, the Montgomery Biscuits.
“Officers responded and they did find, in the driveway of a home, a deceased female,” Pittsylvania County Sheriff Michael Taylor said during a Wednesday press conference, according to Tampa Bay Times. “We determined that there are three victims in this case: one child and two adult females.”
The victims have been positively identified as Bivens’ wife, Emily Marie Bivens; their 1-year-old son, Cullen Bivens; and her mother, Joan Bernard.
According to police, Bernard carried out the gruesome killings inside a Keeling, Virginia, home. A neighbor spotted Joan Bernard deceased in the driveway at around 8 a.m. Tuesday. The two other victims were found inside the home.
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Shortly after the killings, Bernard allegedly ran from the home naked and past a media stage area where reporters were filming. The bizarre incident was caught on camera as the naked suspect grabbed a church groundskeeper and tried to choke him.
Police eventually stopped Bernard by macing him and striking him with a nightstick when the suspect ran out of a nearby wooded area.
“We won’t go into the whys because we don’t know yet. We’re trying to figure that out ourselves,” Pittsylvania County Sheriff Michael Taylor said during a Wednesday press conference. “I think that (Bivens) has questions, just as we all do at this point.”
NBC 10 reports that the suspect’s uncle said even the family dog was killed during the gruesome incident. The uncle also said Bernard’s father is still staying at the house where the murders occurred.
The Montgomery Biscuits canceled its Tuesday night game after learning of the killings, according to ABC 13, and released a statement to the family.
“First and foremost, the Biscuits thoughts and prayers are with Blake and all those who have been impacted by this tragedy.”
The story continues to develop. Check back for further details.
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[Feature Photo: Blake, Emily and Cullen Bivens/Facebook]