Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect's family killed in Virginia triple homicide, reports say

Tampa Bay Rays prospect's family reportedly killed in triple homicide

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. — A minor league pitcher is grieving after his child, wife and mother-in-law were killed in a Virginia triple homicide, multiple news outlets are reporting.

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According to ESPN, 18-year-old Matthew Thomas Bernard, the brother-in-law of Tampa Bay Rays prospect Blake Bivens, is facing first-degree homicide charges after police said he killed the three family members at a Pittsylvania County home Tuesday.

WSLS-TV reported that Bernard, who also is accused of killing a dog, was naked as he fled from police. He was on the run for three hours before authorities apprehended him outside a nearby church, according to USA Today.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive, Pittsylvania County Sheriff Michael Taylor said at a news conference Wednesday.

Taylor identified the dead as Bernard's mother, 62-year-old Joan Bernard; his sister, 25-year-old Emily Bivens; and his nephew, 14-month-old Cullen Bivens.

Cullen was the son of Emily and Blake Bivens.

"Due to a tragic event within the Biscuits family, tonight's doubleheader against the Chattanooga Lookouts has been canceled," the Biscuits tweeted Tuesday afternoon. "The Biscuits ask for privacy at this time and will provide an update when it's appropriate."

Lou DiBella, the Biscuits' CEO and managing owner, expressed his condolences in a separate statement, saying the team appreciates "the outpouring of support and concern" and urging followers to respect the family's privacy.

The Rays also acknowledged on social media that Bivens had "suffered a terrible family tragedy."

"Our hearts are broken for Blake," the team tweeted. "We are grieving with him and will support him any way we can."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.