Violin created by Salinan man in 1798 remains missing after years

A violin that a member of the Salinan Tribe of California built in 1798 has been missing since 2003.

Jose Maria Carabajal made the violin after hearing one being played at the Mission San Antonio. His family played and handed down the storied instrument for generations until 1973, when Leonard Lane, a descendant, donated it to the museum at the historic mission.

The violin was on display -- in an unlocked case -- when it disappeared in August 2003. No one knows what happened to it.

"We've tried every avenue: the feds, local law enforcement, pleading, praying, putting the word out on the street, everything," John Burch, a tribal leader, told The Los Angeles Times.

Burch has created a three-part composition titled "The Calling" in hopes of recovering the violin. He debuted the first part last December and will play the second part in December of this year.

"We felt that some of the people responsible for the violin being taken were even there in the audience, and this could possibly get the return started," tribal elder Shirley Macagni told the paper.

The Salinan Tribe is seeking federal recognition

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Tribe hopes melody will summon precious violin (The Los Angeles Times 7/27)