Fort Worth

Arrest Warrant Reveals Grisly Details Into Night Pianist's Children Killed

Pianist's wife sought mental help before kids' deaths

An arrest warrant reveals new details into the investigation of an internationally known pianist's wife charged with the murder of the couple's children, including that she sought mental treatment and was given a prescription for an antipsychotic before her kids were found dead in North Texas.

Vadym Kholodenko, a Ukrainian-born, Cliburn competition winner who plays with the Fort Worth Symphony, arrived at the home of his estranged wife, Sofya Tsygankova, Thursday morning to find her in distress and his children dead, authorities have said.

The arrest warrant added details to the grisly finding: Kholodenko feeling dazed at the sight of his wife "going crazy" and her night gown covered in blood. His children, the document said, were "in bed, and not moving."

After Benbrook EMS took Tsygankova to John Peter Smith Hospital for treatment, officers asked Kholodenko to recall what had taken place that morning.

He said he talked with his daughter Nika and Tsygankova the night before and arranged to take the girls to school. When he arrived at the home the next morning, no one answered the door. He entered using his key and found his wife bleeding and in distress in the master bedroom closet. He then found his children dead and called 911.

In the arrest warrant officers described in detail how and where they found the children, that they could find no pulse and that there were signs of rigor mortis.

Officers later discovered linens soiled with blood in a vehicle parked in the garage -- the linens are believed to have come from the master bedroom where Tsygankova was found. Officers described a large amount of blood around the vehicle. A red suitcase was stuffed under the rear bumper, used as a brace to keep a rag stuffed into the vehicle's tailpipe. It is not clear whether the engine had been running.

Police said a brown pillow matching the linens from the master bedroom was found in Nika's room, with a small spot of what appeared to be biological fluid on the pillowcase. Police also said there was a brown pillow, with a small spot of what appeared to be biological fluid, partially resting on Michela's head.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's initial autopsies were "inconclusive" and additional testing to determine how the girls died could take several weeks.

An empty prescription bottle for Quetiapine, filled March 16 for Tsygankova, was found on the kitchen counter. Quetiapine is an atypical antipsychotic used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia or treat episodes of mania or depression in patients with bipolar disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health.

A large butcher knife was found on the patio with blood on the blade and handle. A cleaver was found on the tub in the master bath — with a large amount of blood on the floor.

Police said three other prescription bottles with Tsygankova's name on them were found next to the knife — the type of drug and how much remained was not disclosed.

NBC 5 News
Sofya Tsygankova walks into her arraignment hearing in a Tarrant County courtroom, March 23, 2016.

Tsygankova was booked Tuesday into the Tarrant County jail.

Her attorney, Joetta Keene, entered a not guilty plea on behalf of her client at an arraignment hearing Wednesday morning. Keene declined to comment on the specific allegations of the warrant.

"This is, no doubt, a very heartbreaking case for everyone involved," she said.

Sofya Tsygankova Interviewed at JPS Hospital

At John Peter Smith Hospital, Tsygankova spoke with police and said she thought she committed suicide and that she remembered taking a lot of pills, according to the warrant. At some point during the interview with police she stated that "she didn't want to live."

Police said Tsygankova was then read her Miranda rights, which she allegedly waived. She told police she arrived home at about 8:50 p.m. Wednesday and took custody of the children from her babysitter. The sitter had already put Michela to bed; Nika went to bed at about 9:20 p.m. after speaking with her father.

Tsygankova told police both children were fine when the sitter left and that she was the only person home with them overnight, according to the arrest warrant.

Tsygankova recalled that at some point she went outside with the knife because she "didn't see any future for me and kids."

When the police asked Tsygankova if she knew where her children were, she said she hoped they were with their father. At one point she asked, "Did I do anything bad to my kids?" police said.

She recalled that she thought she put the kids in the car before she hurt herself, but that she was unable to remember any of the details. She "made several mentions of having a bad dream that night, but was unable to elaborate fully," according to the arrest warrant.

She then remembered her husband arriving at the home and asking, "What have you done?"

Anna Grevtseva, a friend of Tsygankova's sister Anna, who lives in Amsterdam, said Sofya Tsygankova had been having a hard time dealing with the divorce had visited the Fort Worth MHMR facility on March 16 and had a history with MHMR.

Benbrook police announced Monday that Tsygankova was to be held on two $1 million bonds for capital murder of a person under the age of 10, a first-degree felony, in the deaths of her daughters.

Tsygankova was discharged from the hospital Tuesday afternoon and immediately booked into the Tarrant County Correction Center. Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Tsygankova is undergoing a thorough medical and psychological screening and for now will be housed in a medical unit due to her injuries.

Both Nika and Michela were laid to rest in a private ceremony Monday. A public memorial for the girls was held Tuesday at Arlington Heights United Methodist Church in Fort Worth.

Sofya Tsygankova's Arrest Warrant

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Sofya Tsygankova's Search Warrant

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