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Missing Los Angeles violinist found dead
As afternoon turned to evening July 8, Robert Alan Korda seemed to have disappeared into thin air.
The former L.A. Philharmonic violinist left his Van Nuys home about 3 p.m. but never showed up at the Hollywood studio where he was scheduled to work that evening. His family made frantic calls to police and hospitals and to his cellphone provider. When they received little clue as to his whereabouts, they turned to the Internet as a last resort.
"I don't know where to begin," his son, Noah Korda, wrote on a blog after his father's disappearance. "I know that sometimes sending out messages like this can help locate people. I am asking for any help at this point."
Noah Korda's pleas rapidly spread through cyberspace, and soon, photos and descriptions of the violinist and his 1994 Geo Metro were posted on blogs and Twitter accounts. Through his own blog, Noah Korda organized a search party to comb the streets near the last place his father was seen.
But on Sunday came the news that the elder Korda was dead and that, all along, his body had been at the coroner's office.
Coroner's officials said Korda, 68, had been found unresponsive shortly before 7 p.m. July 8 at a home in Glendale. The violinist was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead less than an hour later, Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said.
The violinist had gone undetected by investigators looking for Korda because he had been mistakenly entered into the system as "Robert Norda."
Investigators realized Sunday that Korda's body was at the coroner's office, said LAPD officer Bruce Borihanh. Officers with the missing persons unit were continuing their investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding Korda's death, Borihanh said.
Korda appeared to have died of natural causes, but an exact cause has not yet been determined, coroner's officials said.
"I'm just happy that we were able to locate him," his son said Monday.
Though distraught, the son said he was surprised by the overwhelming support he got in his online search effort.
Korda began his career as a second violinist at the L.A. Philharmonic during the 1960-61 season and played with the orchestra until 1980.
Childhood friend and colleague Pete Snyder, a recently retired L.A. Philharmonic cellist, said Korda was an upbeat, dedicated musician with a great sense of humor who loved people and the violin.
"Whatever he was playing, he put his heart and soul into it," said Snyder, who said he met Korda as a teenager when they were in competing chamber music groups and became lifelong friends.
Korda, who was a few years older, was a talented musician with a beautiful sound, and a great improviser, Snyder recalled.
Since leaving the philharmonic, Korda had worked as a freelance musician and played with various orchestras and chamber groups. He was the leader of Monseigneur Strings, a group of strolling violinists formed by his older brother, the late Murray Korda.