SUN PHOTOS/TOM VAUGHT
Cadets from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office
(above and below) comb the underbrush at the beach
near Willow Avenue for signs of missing motel owner
Sabine Musil-Buehler. The search was scheduled to
resume Tuesday morning.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office searched a wooded area of the beach near Willow Avenue for the remains of Sabine Musil-Buehler after a crew clearing out an area of dense growth on July 9 found items that belonged to her.
Deputies searched the area last week with cadaver dogs. On Wednesday morning, July 13, they returned and started digging in two areas identified by the dogs as being suspicious. They found nothing. They returned Friday with about a dozen cadets from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Corrections Academy, who combed through the vegetation on both sides of the Willow Avenue dune walkover and found nothing. They were expected to return with front-end loaders on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week to dig in the beach between Willow and Palm Avenue.
The sheriff's deputies contacted Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox last week to have her coordinate the digging project. Fox said there are five nests in the area being considered for digging.
"When they go out there to dig, we'll be there," she said. "We're still concerned there might be some nests with eggs in them that were unidentified because of the rains a week ago that washed away mother turtle tracks."
The area to be excavated also has about 18 inches of new sand added during the renourishment earlier this year, according to Fox. County front-end loaders would have to dig past that point to get into sand that might hold clues as to where Musil-Buehler might be buried.
The land where the unidentified items were found belongs to the Moss family. CrossPointe Fellowship Pastor Ed Moss said they were trying to improve the property following the June 25 death of his mother, Elizabeth, a longtime resident who had lived in the home for decades.
"We were sprucing it up last Saturday after getting a permit from the city to clear some of the underbrush," he said. "We found the items and called police. A deputy came out and the next day, they started searching."
Det. John Kenney, the former head of the Sheriff's Office Anna Mariasubstation, is in charge of the investigation. He headed an effort to find the missing woman in February 2010 using front-end loaders along the beach two blocks north of the site where they are now looking. He said they were searching there because witnesses saw Musil-Buehler's car parked along Gulf Boulevard, a one-block-long street with open access to the beach, when she disappeared.
Musil Buehler has been missing since Nov. 4, 2008 ,when she allegedly had an argument with her boyfriend, William Cumber, at an apartment about a block from where her car was spotted. Her estranged husband and business partner, Tom Buehler, called police. Two days 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 violating his parole on an arson conviction involving another girlfriend.