Minor League Baseball pitcher’s family killed in triple homicide

Data pix.

The wife, child, and mother-in-law of a pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization were killed in a southern Virginia town Tuesday, and police arrested the brother-in-law of minor league baseball player Blake Bivens, authorities said.

Matthew Thomas Bernard, 18, was arrested on three counts of first-degree murder, a spokesperson for Pittsylvania County, Virginia, said in a statement provided to CNN.

The victims were identified Wednesday as Joan Denise Jefferson Bernard, 62; Emily Bernard Bivens, 25; and 14-month-old Cullen Micah Bivens, according to Pittsylvania County Sheriff Michael Taylor. They were the mother, sister and nephew of the suspect, he said.

Taylor confirmed the victims' relationship to Blake Bivens. He said authorities waited for the player to returned to Virginia before releasing the names.

A 911 call around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning reported that a person had been shot, the spokesperson said. Deputies went to the scene where they found a deceased woman in the driveway and the bodies of another woman and a child inside the home.

Bernard was taken into custody as he ran from a wooded area around 12:15 p.m., the spokesperson said. A first court appearance has not been scheduled.

Bernard is on a 24-hour suicide watch at the jail, according to Taylor.

CNN has sought comment from the suspect's surviving family without success.

The Tampa Bay Ray's Organization released a statement Tuesday night on behalf of Blake Bivens.

"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 on Twitter. "Our hearts are broken for Blake. We are grieving with him and will support him any way we can. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the Bivens family and the Biscuits family during this extremely difficult time."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.