Pianist’s estranged wife charged with killing 2 daughters
DALLAS (AP) — Texas police on Monday accused the estranged wife of internationally renowned pianist Vadym Kholodenko of killing the couple’s two young daughters before stabbing herself.
Sofya Tsygankova faces two counts of capital murder in the deaths of 5-year-old Nika Kholodenko and 1-year-old Michela Kholodenko. Police say Vadym Kholodenko arrived Thursday at his wife’s home in Benbrook, a Fort Worth suburb, to pick up the girls and found them dead in their beds and Tsygankova in an “extreme state of distress.”
Benbrook police Cmdr. David Babcock said Monday that Tsygankova was served with arrest warrants in the Fort Worth hospital where she is undergoing a mental health evaluation. Authorities also have said she was recovering from knife wounds.
It’s not clear how the girls died. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office said Monday that it had not completed autopsies. Police have said the children had no visible trauma.
Babcock said Tsygankova’s bond would be set at $2 million. An attorney for Tsygankova did not immediately return phone and email messages for comment Monday.
The Ukranian-born Kholodenko won the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth in 2013, beating nearly 30 finalists from 12 countries. He received a $50,000 cash award and assistance with domestic and international tours.
Kholodenko had been scheduled to perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra last weekend, but was supposed to be replaced by another pianist in the wake of the deaths.
Kholodenko and Tsygankova married in 2010 and filed for divorce in November, according to Tarrant County court records. Kholodenko no longer lived at the home with Tsygankova and their daughters, but routinely picked up the children from the home in the mornings.
A representative for Kholodenko did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did officials at the Ukranian embassy in Washington.
Babcock has said police were called to the couple’s home twice before Thursday. He declined Monday to give details on what those calls were about or whether they resulted in any charges.