Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Blake Bivens penned a heartbreaking goodbye to his wife, son and mother-in-law days after they were killed in a triple homicide in rural Virginia.
Police have charged Bivens' brother-in-law Matthew Thomas Bernard, 18, with three counts of first-degree murder in relation to the case.
Bivens – a fourth-round pick by MLB franchise the Rays in 2014 – made his first public comments in an Instagram post on Thursday.
"Two days ago my heart was turned to ash," the 24-year-old wrote. "My life as I knew it is destroyed. The pain my family and I feel is unbearable and cannot be put into words. I shake and tremble at the thought of our future without them.
"Emily, my sweetheart, you are the best wife and mother this world has ever seen. You made me into the man I am today and you loved me with all of my flaws. You brought our precious baby boy into this world and made our family complete. Your love and kindness changed countless lives, including mine.
"My sweet little boy, dada loves you so much! I can't breathe without you here. I finally understood what love was when you were born and I would have done anything for you. You have changed my life forever, you are my reason why. I long to hold the both of you again in heaven. I'm so glad you are with all your Great-grandmothers now, I know they are eating you up. This earth did not deserve either of you; you were just too wonderful to comprehend.
"Joan you were the best mother-in-law anyone could ask for. You loved your family more than anyone I've ever seen. You raised the most wonderful girl in the world. I'm so glad y'all are still together. You were the best Nana this world has ever seen and I will never forget you.
"Skip you are a wonderful father and grandfather. We will get through this together as a family. We will not let the devil win!
"Thank you God for giving me the most wonderful family in the world! I've been blessed beyond belief.
"Thank you to all my family and friends who have reached out to me during this time of sorrow. Thank you @raysbaseball @biscuitbaseball for your support through everything. I am comforted by all the messages and well wishes. I'm not sure what is next for me, but I do know God has a plan even though I can't see it."
The Chattanooga Lookouts cancelled their Tuesday doubleheader with the Biscuits but at the time did not officially explain why.
"Our thoughts are with the entire Tampa Bay Rays and Montgomery Biscuits organisations at this time," Lookouts president Rich Mozingo wrote in a statement. "We want to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Biscuits family."
Bivens is 4-0 with a 3.95 ERA in 27 games (three starts) for the Biscuits this season.