Children Of Acclaimed Pianist Found Dead


The children of a renowned pianist were found dead inside the home of his estranged wife, who was found with stab wounds.

On March 17, police officers in Benbrook, Texas, responded to a 911 call regarding a “mother in distress.” When they arrived, police found two young children dead in their beds.

The children were Nika Kholodenko, 5, and Michela Kholodenko, 1, the daughters of Vadym Kholodenko, internationally acclaimed Ukrainian pianist and winner of the 2013 Cliburn Competition.

The children’s mother and Kholodenko’s estranged wife, 31-year-old Sofia Tsygankova, was found alive with stab wounds.

"The manner of death has not been determined at this time, but they were not stabbed," Benbrook Police Commander David Babcock told KXAS. "Until we speak to the mother, it's too early in this investigation to establish any suspects or motives at this point."

Kholodenko is not considered to be a suspect, and Tsygankova is being held for a mental health evaluation. The home showed no signs of forced entry.

Neighbors were surprised to hear of the incident.

"They were such a lovely young family and the children were happy, happy kids," Terri Messer, a neighbor, told KDFW.

Kholodenko was scheduled to perform in several upcoming concerts with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. 

"We are currently formulating our plan for this weekend's concerts in light of the developing situation and plan to release a statement in the morning," stated a representative for the orchestra.

The couple was married on April 21, 2010. They stopped living together in August 2015, and Kholodenko filed for divorce on Nov. 3, according to the Star-Telegram. Tsyhankova counter-petitioned on Nov. 24.

David Kulesz, Kolodenko's divorce attorney, stated on behalf of his client, "Mr. Kholodenko is experiencing great grief at this time and has no further comment. Thank you for respecting his privacy."

Neighbors were reportedly unaware of the divorce.

"It’s very sad, very sad,” Messer said. “I can’t imagine. You always feel sad when children are involved like that."

Sources: KDFW, Star-Telegram, KXAS  / Photo credit: Star-Telegram via WFAA

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