Minor league baseball pitcher Blake Bivens was struck by tragedy in August 2019 when his wife, son and mother-in-law were killed in rural Virginia. He was out of town at the time of the incident and learned of his loss through social media. Bivens discovered that his loved ones had been killed after logging onto Facebook.
Speaking with a pastor from the River Church, Bivens opened up about how he discovered his loved ones had been murdered. He had been with his Montgomery Biscuits teammates in Chattanooga, Tennessee, during a series of minor league games. He woke up one day and did not have any messages from his family. Bivens headed to Facebook and saw a headline about a search for his brother-in-law, Matthew Bernard.
"I knew then there's something going on so immediately called my parents," Bivens said during a Facebook Live conversation. "They were trying to figure out everything that was going on also. I knew I needed to get my stuff together. I needed to probably get an airplane trip home, not knowing the extent of anything going on."
The Rays arranged a flight for Bivens to his home in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He continued to check Facebook for updates while waiting at the airport. Once he saw a headline about two women and a small child being killed, he had his answer.
"I immediately knew that was them. I found out my family was gone over a Facebook headline. And I just immediately began to scream in the middle of the airport," Bivens said. He also revealed that he spent portions of the flight home shaking or breaking down crying.
The Pittsylvania County Police Department announced in August that Bernard, 18, had been arrested on three counts of first-degree murder. When they arrived at the scene of the crime, they discovered one female lying in the driveway. They also discovered the bodies of another female and a child lying in the house. A manhunt ensued, and the police tracked Bernard into the woods, where he was found naked. A competency review and determination hearing is currently scheduled for next week to determine whether he is able to stand trial, per ESPN.
As Bivens revealed, the hardest part of returning home was walking into his son's room. He said that it was "the worst moment" in his life and that nothing will ever come close to feeling like he did that day. However, Bivens is also comforted due to his faith. He knows that he will see his loved ones again one day.