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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Cliburn winner’s estranged wife found not guilty by reason of insanity in daughters’ deaths

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge has found the estranged wife of concert pianist Vadym Kholodenko not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2016 deaths of the couple’s two daughters.

Judge Ruben Gonzalez in Fort Worth on Monday then ordered Sonya Tsygankova, who was charged with capital murder, committed to a state mental hospital. The defense and prosecutors agreed with the ruling.

The Ukranian-born Kholodenko in 2013 won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth.

He found his daughters — 5-year-old Nika and 1-year-old Michaela — dead in their suburban home in March 2016. The parents had filed for divorce a few months earlier.

Prosecutors alleged Tsygankova smothered her children. She initially was deemed unfit for trial, but received mental health treatment and last year was ruled competent.

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