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Date of Issue: January 14, 2009

Disappearance reaches two-month mark

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Sabine Musil-Buehler

Sabine Musil-Buehler went missing the night Barack Obama won the White House.

The motel owner’s enthusiasm over Obama’s candidacy and her excitement on election day make the date of the Holmes Beach woman’s disappearance easy to remember: Nov. 4, 2008.

If she could, she would have called to celebrate the election results on Nov. 5, friends have said with certainty.

“I would have expected her to call — or to call someone on [that] Wednesday,” said Silvia Feuerbach, who last talked to Musil-Buehler on Oct. 30, when she invited her friend to an Obama rally in Sarasota.

More than two months have passed since Musil-Buehler, 49, disappeared.

Next week, the candidate Musil-Buehler promoted with a campaign sign outside Haley’s Motel, will take the oath of office.

And investigators with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Holmes Beach Police Department, the state fire marshal’s office and the West Manatee Fire Rescue District will continue to try to solve the mystery of Musil-Buehler’s whereabouts and the “suspicious” Nov. 16 fire at the motel she co-owns with her husband, Tom Buehler, with whom she was separated.

The last known person to see Musil-Buehler is William Cumber III, her boyfriend, who said they were watching election news on television in an Anna Maria home Musil-Buehler had rented when they got into an argument and she left.

Cumber, as The Islander went to press, was in the Manatee County jail on a charge unrelated to Musil-Buehler’s disappearance or the fire that destroyed a two-story building adjacent to the main motel on Gulf Drive.

The 39-year-old was on probation for a 2005 arson conviction when he was picked up near Ocala in Marion County last month for driving with a suspended license.

The arrest violated Cumber’s probation, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Cumber, who has been described by law enforcement as a “person of interest” in the Musil-Buehler/Haley’s investigations, is scheduled for arraignment at 8:55 a.m. Jan. 30 at the Manatee County Judicial Center.

Investigators have not interviewed him since his transfer from the Marion County jail to the Manatee County jail, according to MCSO spokesman Dave Bristow.

They have spoken with the passenger in the truck Cumber was driving in Marion County. “We found him,” Bristow said of the man, who owned the vehicle. “He didn’t really have any information that was helpful.”

Robert Corona, 38, also was scheduled for a court appearance at the judicial center in Bradenton — a case-management hearing on Jan. 14.

Musil-Buehler did not disappear without a trace.

Her white Pontiac convertible was recovered on Nov. 6 on 26th Avenue West in Bradenton. Musil-Buehler’s blood was found in the front seat and her belongings were found in the trunk. Her purse and cell phone were not found.

The MCSO arrested Corona fleeing from the car and charged him with grand theft auto.

Corona first told authorities that he was given the keys of the vehicle to go buy drugs, leading to an early but false report that someone saw Musil-Buehler on Nov. 5 on 14th Street West in Bradenton.

Corona later told investigators that he found the car in a parking lot at the Gator Lounge on 14th Street. The key, he said, was in the ignition.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011, ext. 2519, or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.