Texas police said an award-winning concert pianist arrived at his estranged wife’s home to pick up their two daughters and found the girls slain in their beds.
The police commander in the Fort Worth suburb of Benbrook, David Babcock, said on Friday that Vadym Kholodenko was not a suspect and that his spouse, who was being treated in hospital for multiple stab wounds, faced a mental health evaluation.
“He has been co-operative in the investigation. He’s not considered a suspect at this time,” Babcock told reporters at a news conference.
He said that Kholodenko called 911 at around 9.30am on Thursday after finding his wife, Sofia Tsygankova, wounded and “in an extreme state of distress” and their children dead.
Babcock said the daughters – Nika, aged five, and one-year-old Michela – showed no obvious signs of trauma and the cause of death had not yet been established. He said officers were not searching for a suspect in the wounding or the deaths, and that police had previously been called to the address twice. He declined to say why.
The family had lived in Moscow but moved to the US in 2014. That year Kholodenko, who was born in Kiev, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram of his ambition to become a US citizen and raise his family in the city.
His wife, a 31-year-old Russian citizen, told the newspaper she hoped the move would help with treatment for a medical problem with Nika’s skin.
In a 2013 interview with the Houston Chronicle, Kholodenko referred to the challenges that his busy travel schedule posed for the family.
“I have a daughter who is almost three years old, and I don’t want her to grow up without a father,” he said.
Court records show the couple married in 2010 and filed for divorce last November after ceasing to live together in August.
A neighbor, Terri Messer, said Tsygankova was a “very attentive” mother who would watch the children closely when they were outside.
“If they were on the trampoline she was on the trampoline,” she told NBC local news.
Kholodenko, 29, had been scheduled to perform from 18 to 20 March with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, where he is an artist in residence, and with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow next month. The Fort Worth orchestra announced he had been replaced for this weekend’s dates.
A rising star, in 2013 he won the gold medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, a prestigious event held in Fort Worth every four years, and played with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in San Diego two months ago.