DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Funeral services for Emily and Cullen Bivens took place Saturday afternoon at Central Boulevard Church of God in Danville.
Emily and Cullen, along with Emily’s mother Joan Bernard, were murdered Tuesday in the small Pittsylvania County community of Keeling. Matthew Bernard, the son of Joan Bernard and Emily’s brother, is alleged to have killed the three. He was arrested hours after police discovered the bodies. Minutes before he was taken into custody, he was naked and photographed attacking a man at Keeling Baptist Church. Matthew Bernard has been charged with first-degree murder of his mother, sister, and nephew.
Court documents painted a chaotic picture Tuesday morning as a woman identified as Rachel Jefferson, Matthew Bernard’s aunt, said he came to her house and punched her in the arm. A short time later, she heard gunshots and went to the home of Joan Bernard. Police on the scene discovered Emily Bivens, her son Cullen, and a dog dead inside the home while Joan was discovered dead outside.
Emily’s husband, Blake, is a baseball player for the Montgomery Biscuits, a minor league affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. In a Facebook post Thursday, he shared his grief at losing his wife, son, and mother-in-law.
“Two days ago my heart was turned to ash,” he wrote. “My life as I knew it is destroyed. The pain my family and I feel is unbearable and cannot be put into words.”