Tragedy struck Thursday morning when Vadym Kholodenko, a famous pianist, went to his estranged wife’s home to pick up his two daughters and found them dead. Kholodenko’s wife, Sofia Tsygankova, had suffered severe stab wounds.
Kholodenko stopped to pick up his daughters, Nika, 5, and Michela, 1, at 9:20 a.m. in their Benbrook home, as was the usual routine the couple had agreed upon. At 9:27, Vadym called 911 to report that he had found his daughters dead in their beds and his wife was in “an extreme state of distress,” according to the Associated Press.
“Wherever I go after this tragedy, my heart will stay with the people here in Fort Worth and my daughters will rest in this soil.”
Commander David Babcock of the Benbrook Police Department told the press that Vadym Kholodenko had been “cooperative” and was “not a suspect at this time.”
Babcock said that Sofia Tsygankova was in recovery after surgery and would be “held on a mental health evaluation.” Babcock declined to say whether Tsygankova’s wounds were self-inflicted or whether the knife was found in the home. He did not indicate whether she was a formal suspect in the murder of her children.
Kholodenko, 29, and Tsygankova, 31, had married in 2010 and filed for divorce in November, 2015, according to Radar Online. They had not been living together since August, 2015.
Vadym Kholodenko was a world-renowned pianist, winning the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013 and a $50,000 prize. Kholodenko traveled, playing with major orchestras.
“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,” Cliburn spokeswoman, Maggie Estes, said.
During an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2014, the couple said they had moved to Fort Worth, Texas, from Moscow in a moment of spontaneity and to find treatment for a skin condition Nika
“Nobody could help us with this problem and we had a very hard time with her. We wanted to be together with Vadym, to be a family, and for us maybe it was the only choice for us to come here,” Sofia said.
According to authorities, Kholodenko’s daughters suffered no visible trauma and it may be days before the cause of their deaths is determined.
There were two disturbance calls in 2014 to their residence but details about those calls has not been shared by police.
Babcock said they are not actively looking for suspects at this time and feel that the community is in no danger but also said, “We are still looking at all avenues.”
When asked if Tsygankora killed her daughters, Babcock declined to answer directly, saying the department “is going to be very careful to cover all bases and not be narrowly focused. But at this point, there is not a particular individual out there that we’re looking at who’s on the loose or anything of that nature. I don’t feel like there’s any imminent danger.”
“His reaction was pretty much what I would expect; it was appropriate for the situation. That’s the best way I could put it. We’ve seen absolutely no indication of deception on his part. We just don’t think he was involved in the homicides,” Babcock commented on Kholodenko.
“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.”
Vadym Kholodenko was scheduled to perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra this weekend. Soloist, Alex Bax, will be replacing him. Kholodenko asked those who will be attending this weekend to “think of the music.”
[Image via Sofia Tsygankova/Facebook]