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Missing Van Nuys violinist found dead

July 13, 2009 | 12:31 pm

A missing Van Nuys violinist at the center of a desperate search effort by his family has been found dead, authorities said this morning.

The family of 68-year-old Robert Alan Korda had been asking for help on the Internet and combing the streets near his San Fernando Valley home since last Wednesday when he went missing. But it now appears he had been in the county coroner’s office all along.

According to police, Korda was last seen about 3 p.m. Wednesday at his home and never showed up that evening at Gower Studios in Hollywood, where he was scheduled to work. Coroner’s officials said Korda was actually found unresponsive shortly before 7 p.m. that day at a home in Glendale. The violinist was rushed to the hospital, and was pronounced dead less than an hour later, said Los Angeles County coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter.

Meanwhile, Korda’s family was growing increasingly worried. His son, Noah, began utilizing many forms of social media on the Web in the search for his father, asking people to spread the word through blogs and Twitter.

“I don’t know where to begin,” Noah Korda wrote on his 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 wrote on his blog that the family sought the help of the Los Angeles Police Department, which scoured databases at tow yards, hospitals, and the coroner’s office for the missing violinist. But at some point, his name had been wrongly entered into the system as Robert Norda.

The police search led to a court warrant for the records of Korda’s cellphone, according to his son’s blog. Investigators realized on Sunday that Korda’s body was at the coroner’s office, said LAPD officer Bruce Borihanh.

An autopsy was performed Sunday, Winter said. Korda appeared to have died of natural causes, but an exact cause of death has not yet been determined.

Korda was a former violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and also worked as a freelance performer.

-- Victoria Kim