SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT A Manatee County Sheriff's Office
crime scene investigator checks out a pair of flip flops
found in about a foot of sand on the beach where they
are looking for clues or possibly a body in the
disappearance of Sabine Musil-Buehler.
ANNA MARIA – After a week of digging on the beachatMagnolia Avenue, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office homicide investigators and crime scene specialists are no closer to solving the mystery of Sabine Musil Buehler’s disappearance.
The department brought out two front-end loaders to dig 3 to 4 feet deep in the sand from the Magnolia Avenue entrance to the beach north 200 feet. The only thing they found was a pair of flip-flops buried about a foot down. Homicide Detective John Kenney said they are looking for a possible link to the missing motel owner who disappeared Nov. 4, 2008. He would not say whether they feel she might have been wearing flip flops when she disappeared.
This week, the search changed location to the beach south of Magnolia, along Gulf Boulevard, a one-block-long street from Magnolia to Palm Avenue. The digging will become slower because of rock groins that run out from the beach to the water. The groins were exposed until they were buried by a renourishment project a few years ago.
Kenney said they would have to dig with shovels, since a front-end loader would not be able to take out the rocks due to their weight.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is treating Musil-Buehler’s disappearance as a possible homicide and that if she was killed, her body might have been buried in that portion of the beach, which is about a block from where she shared an apartment with her boyfriend, William Cumber. Authorities have named Cumber as a person of interest in the case.
The mystery began when Musil-Buehler’s estranged husband and business partner, Tom Buehler, reported her missing two days later after police pulled over a man driving her white Pontiac Sunbird convertible in Bradenton. The man, Robert Corona, first told detectives that he had partied with her the night before, but he later said that he stole the car when he found the keys in the ignition. He is now serving a four-year prison sentence for the theft.
Cumber told investigators that Musil-Buehler left their apartment Nov. 4 after they had gotten into an argument. Her car was later seen parked overnight a block away on Gulf Boulevard and a deputy issued a parking ticket. Cumber is serving a 13-year prison term for his conviction on charges of violating his parole, after serving time for setting fire to a house.
Meanwhile, the detectives and investigators continue to look for clues or her body where they used cadaver dogs and radar recently to try to find her body.
“The Sheriff’s Office is doing all it can to find her,” Kenney said. “She’s been missing for more than a year, but we haven’t given up.”