Children of Famed Pianist Were Likely Smothered

Medical examiner's office reports findings
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2016 10:49 AM CDT
Children of Famed Pianist Were Likely Smothered
In this 2014 file photo, concert pianist Vadym Kholodenko poses with his wife Sofya Tsygankova and daughters Nika, left, and Michela, at their home in Fort Worth, Texas.   (Joyce Marshall/Star-Telegram via AP, File)

Concert pianist Vadym Kholodenko's two young daughters were probably smothered to death with pillows, investigators believe. The official ruling on the manner of the March 17 deaths of Nika Kholodenko, 5, and Michaela Maria Kholodenko, 1, as reported Thursday by a Texas medical examiner's office: homicidal violence, with the autopsy report reading, "the mechanism of death in this case and the companion case is most likely asphyxia." The girls' 31-year-old mother and Kholodenko's estranged wife, Sofya Tsygankova, has been charged with their murders, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Investigators found an empty prescription bottle indicating Tsygankova had just filled a prescription for an antipsychotic drug before the children's deaths (no word on what happened to the pills). She had also visited a mental health facility the day before their deaths. The next day, Kholodenko, who had filed for divorce last year, came to the Fort Worth house to find his daughters dead in their beds and his wife "covered in blood" and with wounds on her wrist and chest. He called 911 and said she was "going crazy." More on the awful case here and here. (Read more murder stories.)

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