A minor league baseball player's wife, son and mother-in-law were found slain in Virginia and his teenage brother-in-law –– described by one family member as an "all-around perfect kid" –– is in custody for the crime.
Matthew Bernard, 18, is accused of killing his mom, sister, her child and a dog at a family home in rural Pittsylvania County, Virginia, USA Today reports.
A neighbor found one woman dead in the driveway of the home. Another woman and a child were found dead inside, according to WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Virginia. A dog was also killed, WSLS in Roanoke reports. The manner of death for each hasn't been disclosed.
The gruesome find kicked off a 3-hour-long manhunt for Bernard, who was found naked and unarmed in a wooded area. He ran from officers into a church parking lot and allegedly tried to strangle a man, a church caretaker, who was getting in his truck, according to footage obtained by WSET-TV. Video shows Bernard appearing to wriggle away from law enforcement a few more times before he is finally taken into custody.
Bernard has been arrested on three counts of first-degree murder, WSLS reported.
While the victims' identities were not released by authorities, Bernard's uncle, Bryant Bernard told WSLS that they are the suspect’s mother, sister and nephew. It’s not clear who the dog belonged to. The sister was married to 24-year-old Blake Bivens, a Double-A pitcher for the Montgomery Biscuits in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The child was his son, according to ESPN.
"Our hearts are broken for Blake. We are grieving with him and will support him any way we can,” the Rays tweeted on Tuesday.
The Montgomery Biscuits canceled a doubleheader Tuesday because of the tragedy, AL.com reported.
It’s not clear if Bernard has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time. A motive has not been released.
"In my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined it. Not him. Of all the people in this world. I never could have imagined it," his uncle told WSLS.
He added, "This boy’s a Christian. Went to church every Sunday, every Wednesday, every Sunday night. Taught youth groups. Just an all-around perfect kid, in my opinion.”
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