Police in Virginia captured 18-year-old Matthew Bernard after pursuing him as he ran naked through Pittsylvania County.
Bernard was wanted for the murder of several family members, including his own mother, 62-year-old Joan Bernard; his sister, 25-year-old Emily Bivens; and his 14-month-old nephew, Cullen Bivens. He has since been charged with the killings. Emily and Cullen are the wife and son of Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Blake Bivens, of the Rays’ affiliate the Montgomery Biscuits.
The heartbreaking tragedy has taken a toll on the community. Bivens posted an emotional response to the horrific event, saying “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… 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… 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.”
His brother-in-law Bernard reportedly suffered from mental illness issues. In the week prior to the murders, he confided in his mother that he had been having nightmares and seeing demons around his bed. Before the murders, he also stated “it has to stop today”. He was not only naked, but also in the process of strangling a man in a parking lot when police cornered him with a K-9 unit.
An online fundraiser is currently open for donations to assist the surviving family members in the wake of this tragedy.