Police arrest naked suspect in triple murder

Pittsylvania County Police Department
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KEELING, Va. (AP) -- Police in Virginia apprehended a naked 18-year-old after an intense manhunt in the slayings of two women and a child.

Authorities said Matthew Thomas Bernard is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor indicated he's related to the victims.

Police warned of a dangerous gunman on the loose after finding the bodies at a home in Keeling Tuesday. Schools were locked down and a tank and armored vehicle were brought in. Up to 100 officers joined the search. Bernard emerged naked from the woods hours later, running past cameras to a church where he was recorded trying to choke a caretaker.

An officer sprayed mace and smacked Bernard with a baton before he was captured at a barricade with the help of a police dog.

On Wednesday, officials said the wife, son and mother-in-law of a minor league baseball pitcher are dead in this case.

Tracie Cooper of the state medical examiner's office in Roanoke identified the dead as Emily Marie Bivens, Cullen Bivens, and her mother, Joan Bernard.

Emily Bivens was married to Blake Bivens, a pitcher for the Montgomery Biscuits, a Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Cullen Bivens was the couple's 1-year-old child.

Michael Taylor gave an update on the investigation at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The sheriff said the victims were the mother, sister and nephew of Bernard.

Taylor said a firearm was "involved in the incident," but he didn't give details about how the victims died.

The sheriff says Bernard was taken to a hospital for treatment after he banged his head against the cage in a police vehicle after being taken into custody following an extensive manhunt. He's since been released and is in jail.

Taylor says Bernard is on suicide watch.

Court documents show that Magistrate Judge J. Allan Blair ordered Bernard held without bail Wednesday. An initial court appearance is scheduled for Thursday morning.



 
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