Blake Bivens, a minor league pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, said he found out that his wife, son and mother-in-law were killed when he checked Facebook while at the airport.
“First headline I see is two females and a small child were gone,” Bivens said, during a service at a Danville, Virginia, church Sunday. “I immediately knew that was them. I found out my family was gone over a Facebook headline. I just immediately began to scream in the middle of the airport.”
Emily’s 19-year-old brother Matthew Bernard led police on a chase while he was naked before being arrested. He has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the slayings.
A hearing to determine if Bernard is competent to stand trial is scheduled for next week, ESPN reports.
Bivens, 24, said he and his teammates with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits were in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Aug. 28 finishing up a series and had gotten up early that morning to pack and get on a bus for a day game when he checked his phone.
“There weren’t any messages from Emily or anyone,” he said.
Bivens said he decided to check Facebook and saw a headline that police were searching for his brother-in-law.
“I knew then something was going on and immediately called my parents,” he said. “They were trying to figure out what was going on also. I knew I needed to get my stuff together. I needed to probably get an airport trip home, not knowing the extent of anything going on.”
“The only thing I really remember from the whole plane ride is I just went through periods, I just stared at the back of the seat the whole time, trying to get my mind to wrap around what I’m hearing,” he added. “It’s almost kind of like, ‘This isn’t really happening.’ I was more in a state of shock. I would go through periods of shaking. Then I would start to lose it a little bit and break down and cry. It was kind of like a circle. The plane rides just seemed like they took forever.”
When he arrived home, he was met by a large group of family.
“We hugged and we just cried for 30 minutes,” he said. “It was an experience, it’s unbelievable how much I can vividly remember from the day. And it’s kind of unbelievable to see how far things have come from that day also.”
Bivens said the hardest moment for him was stepping into his son’s bedroom.
“I think the hardest moment for me was when I got home and I walked in my son’s bedroom for the first time and realized I was never going to see him on this Earth again,” he said. “That was the worst moment in my life. Nothing ever will come close to being, to feeling the way I felt at that moment. Then again, I know I will see him again one day, and it won’t be long.”