Pianist Vadym Kholodenko’s estranged wife, Sofya Tsygankova, has been charged with the murder of the couple’s two daughters in Fort Worth, Texas, Reuters reported on Monday, March 21, citing law enforcement.
According to the news agency, Tsygankova was charged on Monday with two counts of capital murder. The charges can bring the death penalty in Texas.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the couple’s daughters, Nika, 5, and Michela, 1, were found dead in their rooms a few days earlier on March 17 by Vadym Kholodenko when he went to visit them at their mother’s home.
BREAKING: Wife of Van-Cliburn winning pianist Vadym Kholodenko charged with capital murder for death of daughters pic.twitter.com/hX4zAdOn3s
— Sarah Mervosh (@smervosh) March 21, 2016
“We have probable cause, reason to believe, that she committed the homicides,” Benbrook police commander David Babcock told reporters at a news conference on Monday.
Sofya was found with stab wounds that now appear to be self-inflicted. Following a mental health evaluation, Sofya will be transported to Tarrant County jail, said Babcock, adding that Tsygankova’s bond would be set at $2 million.
Kholodenko, 29, is an award-winning Ukrainian pianist. He and he wife split last November after marrying in 2010. Kholodenko reportedly no longer lived at the home with Tsygankova and their daughters, but routinely picked up the children from the home in the mornings.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) March 22, 2016
In a statement, Kholodenko said the loss of his children will remain with him for the rest of his life.
“Wherever I go after this tragedy, my heart will stay with all the people here of Fort Worth and my daughters will rest in this soil.”
It is still unclear how the children died, but Benbrook Police Commander David Babcock revealed on Friday that the girls were not stabbed.
“The manner of death has not been determined at this time. Until we speak to the mother, it’s too early in this investigation to establish any suspects or motives at this point.”
Pianist Vadym Kholodenko releases statement about deaths of daughters in Benbrook. Police investigation ongoing. pic.twitter.com/oUXpSMbTxs
— WFAA-TV (@wfaachannel8) March 18, 2016
Sofya was reportedly rushed to the hospital to treat her stab wounds and is undergoing a mental evaluation.
Neighbor Terri Messer told local reporters on Friday that the pianist traveled frequently and is rarely at the home.
“It’s disturbing. Certainly wouldn’t have expected anything like this. Very sad for the family and for the children.”
— The Progressive Mind (@Libertea2012) March 22, 2016
According to Terri Messer, Sofya was a very “attentive” mother who often played outside with the girls.
Kholodenko, who is half-American, came to the United States from the Ukraine in 2014 after war broke out in the region. Educated in Russia, the pianist still retains Ukrainian citizenship, although with the ongoing turmoil between Russia and the Ukraine, he decided to move his family to the United States.
Kholodenko and Sofya chose to live in the Benbrook neighborhood of Fort Worth because of his ties with the Forth Worth Symphony Orchestra.
Vadym Kholodenko began performing in public when he was just 13-years-old. His early concerts were held in the United States, Croatia, Hungary, and China.
He later studied at the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
According to CBS News, Vadym Kholodenko won the gold medal in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013, beating nearly 30 finalists from 12 countries. He received a $50,000 cash award and assistance with domestic and international tours.
Vadym Kholodenko’s performances have been heralded as “mesmerizing” and “exhilarating.”
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]