Pianist's wife charged with killing daughters in Texas

Award-Winning Pianist Finds Daughters Dead at Wife's Home
Award-Winning Pianist Finds Daughters Dead at Wife's Home

DALLAS, March 21 (Reuters) - The estranged wife of a celebrated Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko has been charged with killing the couple's two daughters at their home in suburban Fort Worth, police said on Monday.

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Benbrook Police said Sofya Tsygankova, 31, has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of daughters, Nika, 5, and Michela, 1. Kholodenko, 29, discovered them in their bedrooms early on Thursday when he went to visit them at their mother's house.

The charges can bring the death penalty in Texas.

"We have probable cause, reason to believe, that she committed the homicides," Benbrook police Commander David Babcock told a news conference.

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Tsygankova suffered what appeared to be self-inflicted stab wounds in the incident. She was in the hospital for treatment of her physical injuries and will be undergoing a mental evaluation, he said.

She will transported to Tarrant County jail after her mental health evaluation.

Physical evidence was collected at the scene and police detectives have spoken to Tsygankova, Babcock said.

Kholodenko had an appointment to pick up the children on Thursday morning when he came across the crime scene, police said.

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"The loss of my children will be with me forever. But I would like to say that I feel the support of the Fort Worth community and all people who are sending me messages all over the world," Kholodenko said in a statement on Friday evening.

"Wherever I go after this tragedy, my heart will stay with the people here of Fort Worth and my daughters will rest in this soil," he added.

In 2013, he won the gold medal in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Kholodenko and Tsygankova married in 2010, but filed for divorce last November, according to court records obtained by local media.

Police were called to this residence twice in 2014 for undisclosed reasons, Babcock said.

Originally published