Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Blake Bivens saw his life change forever earlier this week when . On Thursday, Bivens took to social media to make his first statement since the tragedy. He expressed how thankful he was for his for the time he had with his wife, son and mother-in-law in a heartfelt message and stated that he wasn't sure what the next step was going to be for him.
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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 went on to express his gratitude for the immense support that he's received from the baseball community, including the Rays organization.
On Tuesday, Matthew Thomas Bernard, Bivens' 18-year-old brother-in-law, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He led police on a foot chase near the Virginia-North Carolina border while he was naked on Tuesday afternoon. The Bivens' family dog was also killed, and police remain unsure of Bernard's motives for the grizzly crime.
According to court documents from the Associated Press, Bernard reportedly punched a neighbor in the arm and proceeded to run away. That same neighbor then heard gunshots next door before eventually finding Joan Bernard's body laying in the driveway. The bodies of Emily and Cullen Bivens were found inside the home.
Police found a rifle in a wooded area near the home and a bloody sledgehammer in the garage of the home. More than 100 police officers assisted in the manhunt for Bernard, who even attempted to choke a church groundskeeper during the chase.
Following his capture, Bernard had to be taken to the hospital for a short time after he banged his head on the cage inside a police vehicle. He currently remains back in jail and is on suicide watch.
"Earlier today we learned that Blake Bivens, a pitcher with our Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits, suffered a terrible family tragedy in southern Virginia," the Rays said in a statement. "Our hearts are broken for Blake."
Following the tragedy, the Biscuits canceled their doubleheader against the Chattanooga Lookouts on Tuesday.
Bivens was a fourth round pick of the Rays in the 2014 MLB Draft. The 24-year old right-handed pitcher has compiled a 4-0 record to go along with a 3.95 ERA for the Double A Biscuits during the 2019 season. Blevins pitched four innings of relief and surrendered two earned runs against Chattanooga on Sunday in his most recent appearance for the team.