Famed Pianist's Young Children Found Dead

Vadym Kholodenko placed the 911 call Thursday morning
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2016 12:11 PM CDT
Famed Pianist's Young Children Found Dead
In this 2014 file photo, award-winning concert pianist Vadym Kholodenko, poses with his wife Sofya Tsygankova and daughters Nika, 4, and Michela, at their home in Fort Worth, Texas.   (FORT WORTH WEEKLY, 360 WEST)

Police in Benbrook, Texas, responded to a 911 call on Thursday and found a tragic scene: the two young daughters of a celebrated concert pianist dead in their beds, and his estranged wife stabbed. The specifics of what may have happened became only slightly less opaque during a Friday press conference in which the Benbrook PD said Vadym Kholodenko placed the 911 call at 9:27am, just minutes after he arrived to pick up the children. "He found the mother in an extreme state of distress and discovered the children," says Commander David Babcock, per CBS Fort Worth. Police are waiting on autopsy results, but they say Nika, 5, and Michela, 1, were not stabbed and showed no visible injuries. Kholodenko is not a suspect; his wife and the girls' mother, 31-year-old Sofia Tsygankova, is "being held on a mental health evaluation" in a Fort Worth hospital.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports by way of court records that the Ukrainian pianist—winner of the gold medal at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, according to a bio—filed for divorce from Tsygankova in November, two months after the pair had apparently stopped living together as a couple. The divorce is still pending. Kholodenko had been scheduled to play three shows with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra this weekend but will be replaced, reports NBC DFW. It adds that Benbrook police have responded to calls at the house in the past, though Babcock didn't offer any specifics. Though it's unclear whether Tsygankova's wounds were self-inflicted or the result of an attack, Babcock said there is no active search for a suspect. Kholodenko said in a statement released by his lawyer that he "is experiencing great grief at this time and has no further comment. Thank you for respecting his privacy." (More Texas stories.)

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