Wednesday 28 September 2016

Estranged wife of pianist arrested over deaths of couple's two young children

Published 21/03/2016 | 20:31

The woman was said to be in an extremely distressed state
The woman was said to be in an extremely distressed state

Texas police have accused the estranged wife of internationally renowned pianist Vadym Kholodenko of killing the couple's two young daughters before stabbing herself.

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Sofya Tsygankova faces two counts of capital murder in the deaths of five-year-old Nika Kholodenko and one-year-old Michela Kholodenko.

Police said Kholodenko arrived on 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".

Police Commander David Babcock said that Tsygankova was served with arrest warrants in the Fort Worth hospital where she is undergoing a mental health evaluation. Authorities had said earlier that she suffered knife wounds.

It is not clear how the girls died. The Tarrant County medical examiner's office said it had not completed post mortems. Police said the children had no visible trauma.

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 had been scheduled to perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra last weekend.

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.

Babcock has said police were called to the couple's home twice before Thursday.

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