Pianist Not a Suspect in Children's Deaths, Wife's Stabbing; Woman Held for Mental Health Evaluation: Police

The woman is recovering from stab wounds, police said

The wife of an internationally renowned pianist will undergo a mental health evaluation after her two children were found dead and she suffered stab wounds in the family's North Texas home Thursday. The husband of Sofya Tsygankova is not a suspect, Benbrook police said Friday. [[372477922,R]]

Benbrook Police Cmdr. David Babcock said during a news conference Friday that Ukranian-born musician Vadym Kholodenko arrived as scheduled at 9:20 a.m. Thursday to pick up his children at his estranged wife's home on the 6600 block of Waterwood Trail.

"Once he arrived there, he found the mother in an extreme state of distress," said Babcock. "And he discovered the children in their state."

Babcock said Kholodenko called 911 at 9:27 a.m. to report what happened, telling authorities his daughters were 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 could take up to several weeks to complete.

When asked Friday if Tsygankova was a suspect in the deaths of her children, Babcock declined to say.

"We are still looking at all avenues," he said, but added that authorities don't believe there's any immediate risk to others in the area.

Tsygankova is recovering at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and will be held for a mental health evaluation once she is released, Babcock said. Tsygankova suffered several stab wounds from a knife, but he did not say if the wounds were self-inflicted or if she had been attacked.

In a statement released Friday evening, Kholodenko said:

"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."

Court records obtained by NBC 5 show Kholodenko filed for divorce from Tsygankova in November.

Kholodenko's attorney, David Kulesz, wrote that the pair married in 2010 and stopped living together as a couple last August.


Benbrook police had been called to the home several times in recent years, though Babcock refused to elaborate on the nature of those calls. He did not say if there had been any arrests or action taken.

Kulesz released the following statement Friday morning on his client's behalf: "Mr. Kholodenko is experiencing great grief at this time and has no further comment. Thank you for respecting his privacy."

Kholodenko in 2013 became the first winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth.

"The Cliburn family is mourning the loss of the precious Kholodenko girls. We are heartbroken and offer our prayers to Vadym and all affected by this overwhelming tragedy," a spokesperson for The Cliburn said in a statement Friday morning.


In 2014 Kholodenko and his family moved to Fort Worth and he began touring and playing with major orchestras. He was scheduled to perform three shows with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra this weekend but has been replaced by another performer.

“The Fort Worth Symphony family is profoundly saddened by the tragic event suffered by our dear friend and artistic partner, Vadym Kholodenko,” said Amy Adkins, FWSO President and CEO. “Our Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya, musicians, staff and board send deepest condolences and prayers to Vadym and his family as they grieve the unimaginable loss of these beloved children.”

NBC 5 's Scott Gordon, Chris Van Horne and Caroline Connolly contributed to this report.

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