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Rays minor leaguer says he learned his family was dead on Facebook

Posted at 10:18 AM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 10:22:56-04

DANVILLE, Va. -- Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer Blake Bivens says he learned through social media of the deaths of three family members last summer.

Speaking publicly for what is believed to be the first time about the Aug. 28 deaths of his wife, young son and mother-in-law, Bivens recalled details of traveling home to Keeling, Virginia, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he had been on a road trip with the Rays’ Double-A Montgomery affiliate.

“First headline I see is two females and a small child were gone. I immediately knew that was them,” Bivens said. “I found out my family was gone over a Facebook headline. I just immediately began to scream in the middle of the airport.”

The 24-year-old pitcher’s brother-in-law, Matthew Bernard, was arrested, charged with three counts of murder and is awaiting trial.

Bivens spoke Sunday for more than 30 minutes with a Danville, Virginia, pastor. The conversation was aired live on Facebook.