Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect sends heartbreaking birthday wishes to late wife

Blake Bivens wished his late wife a heartbreaking "25th birthday in heaven" less than two months after she and his son were murdered.
/ Source: TODAY

Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Blake Bivens has wished his late wife a heartbreaking "happy 25th birthday in heaven" less than two months after she and his 1-year-old son were killed in a triple homicide in rural Virginia.

Bivens, 24, posted a smiling family photo with his wife, Emily, and their 14-month-old son Cullen, who were fatally shot on Aug. 27 along with his mother-in-law, Joan Bernard, 62, in Keeling, Virginia.

"Happy 25th Birthday in heaven, baby!" he wrote. "I thank God everyday for letting me have you for a short time. Your love and kindness has impacted so many people. I miss you so much. Give our little pooh bear a kiss for me. I love you both so much and can’t wait to see you again."

Bivens' brother-in-law, Matthew Thomas Bernard, 18, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

Bivens, who pitched for the Double A Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits this past season, celebrated his three-year anniversary with his wife in January. The two were high school sweethearts.

He wrote in the wake of their deaths that his "heart was turned to ash" and that "life as I knew it was destroyed."

Bivens also posted a poignant message on Sept. 27 to mark a month since he lost his wife and son.

"I spend most of my time imagining what both of you are seeing and experiencing,'' he wrote. "For me this is not the end but only a brief interruption. One day soon we will have a magnificent reunion and all of us will be with the Lord forever. Until then I will press on to the ultimate goal of spending eternity in Heaven."

Bivens, who was drafted by the Rays in the fourth round out of high school in 2014, also thanked the organization for their support in the wake of the tragedy.

"I also want to thank the baseball community,'' he wrote. "The love and compassion we have felt has been unbelievable. It truly feels like we are one big family."

Bernard may have been operating under some kind of "religious motivation" when he allegedly killed Bivens' wife, child and mother-in-law, police said in a search warrant earlier this month, according to NBC affiliate WSLS. The teen possibly kept an audio diary on his phone that included his "visions" and things he had "heard from God."