Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube announced Oct. 15 that William Cumber was charged in Manatee County with murder in the second degree in connection with the presumed death of Sabine Musil-Buehler, who disappeared from Anna Maria Island in November 2008.
The MCSO’s only identified suspect has been Cumber, Musil-Buehler’s boyfriend, who was moved from the Charlotte Correctional Institute in Punta Gorda to the Manatee County jail Oct. 15. He has been serving a 13.5-year sentence on an unrelated charge.
Cumber was the last person known to see Musil-Buehler alive the night of Nov. 4, 2008. She was the co-owner of Haley’s Motel in Holmes Beach with her estranged husband, Thomas Buehler, but had moved in with Cumber.
Cumber claimed in 2008 they had argued in their Magnolia Avenue apartment in Anna Maria, she left in her car and that was the last time he saw her.
Cumber has always been the lead suspect in the case, according to MCSO Detective Ricardo Alvarado.
Tom Buehler reported his wife missing Nov. 6 and MCSO detectives soon began to suspect it was homicide, not a missing person’s report.
A man found driving her car was later sentenced to four years in prison for grand-theft auto, but was not charged with Musil-Buehler’s disappearance, despite frequent questioning by Alvarado.
The investigation took another twist when an arson fire broke out at Haley’s Motel Nov. 16, 2008.
No one has yet been arrested for the fire.
Alvarado was joined in the investigation by Detective John Kenney, who previously headed the MCSO-Anna Maria substation from 2002-07.
After investigators searched the former Musil-Buehler apartment, they were positive the case was a homicide, but no arrest was made. The details of any evidence found have not been made public.
MCSO teams, including a K-9 unit, did a thorough search of the beach area near the Magnolia apartment.
In July 2011, they returned to the beach area in front of Willow Drive, Holmes Beach, after a homeowner found some personal items of Musil-Buehler in under brush.
A week-long search of the area found nothing further connected with the case.
In the intervening four years, Cumber was returned to prison for violating the terms of his probation, ironically on an arson charge unrelated to the Haley’s Motel fire.
Following the July 2011 discovery of the personal belongings, MCSO detectives drove several times to question Cumber in jail.
Steube said Monday that any further information would come from the state’s attorney or the court, adding “Cumber will not be tried in the media.”