North Texas

Benbrook Police Charge Pianist's Estranged Wife With Murder of Their Children

Police say the woman's stab wounds were self-inflicted

The wife of an internationally known pianist has been charged with two counts of capital murder in North Texas in the deaths of the couple's children.

Benbrook Police Cmdr. David Babcock made the announcement Monday afternoon and said Sofya Tsygankova will be held on two $1 million bonds for capital murder of a person under the age of 10, a first-degree felony.

Vadym Kholodenko, a Ukrainian-born musician who played with the Fort Worth Symphony and is a Cliburn competition winner, found his estranged wife, Tsygankova, stabbed at her home Thursday and their children dead in their beds.

The girls, identified by the Tarrant County medical examiner as 5-year-old Nika Kholodenko and 1-year-old Michela Kholodenko, showed no signs of visible trauma. An initial autopsy came back as "inconclusive," according to Babcock. Additional testing to determine their causes of death could take up to several weeks to complete.

Benbrook Police Cmdr. David Babcock says Sofya Tsygankova faces two charges of capital murder of a person under the age of 10 in connection with the deaths of her children.

Tysgankova was expected to undergo a mental health evaluation after her release from the hospital but will now be turned over to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department.

"We have probable cause, reason to believe, that she committed the homicides," Babcock said Monday afternoon, citing unspecified physical evidence recovered at the woman's home.

An arrest warrant and a search warrant in the case were released Tuesday afternoon.

Babcock said Tsygankova has spoken with detectives, but he refused to elaborate on what was said. An attorney for Tsygankova did not immediately return phone and email messages for comment from The Associated Press Monday.

The cases are in the process of being filed with the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office.

Kholodenko released the following statement Friday afternoon:

"Being in a great grief I would like to address this message to everyone who thinks about my family. 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. My special gratefulness is for the Castro family who supported my family and who gave special care to my daughters. I would like to ask everyone who is going to the concerts this weekend at Bass Hall to think of the music. 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."

A private family service for the children scheduled for Tuesday was originally going to be a private event, but now welcomes the public. The public memorial will be held at 7 p.m. at Arlington Heights United Methodist Church at 4200 Camp Bowie Boulevard.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks those wishing to contribute to a fund to consider making a gift to the Nika and Michaela Kholodenko Young Artist Fund, being administered by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (330 East 4th Street, Suite 200, Fort Worth, Texas 76102 -- please be sure to note the Kholodenko Fund).

Sofya Tsygankova's Arrest Warrant

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Arrest-Warrants-6627-Waterwood-Trl-Redacted (Text)

Sofya Tsygankova's Search Warrant

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Search-Warrant-6627-Waterwood-Trl (Text)

NBC 5's Amanda Guerra contributed to this report.

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