Spectrum Underground Inc. workers install a sewer line at the south end of Bay Boulevard in Anna Maria. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is analyzing women’s clothing dug up by the crew’s backhoe. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
In Anna Maria, it’s the small things that draw attention.
In fact, underwear uncovered by sewer workers near Galati Marine has sparked new suspicion in the disappearance and murder of Sabine Musil-Buehler.
The articles of clothing, after all, were found in an area searched recently, although Musil-Buehler disappeared in 2008.
In February, MCSO Detective John Kenney led a team of homicide investigators, cadaver-sniffing dogs and backhoe operators to private property at the south end of Bay Boulevard in Anna Maria near Galati Marine. The team was searching for Musil-Buehler’s body and any evidence in the case.
The MCSO focused its investigation in the area due to information related to cellphone use on the night of Musil-Buehler’s disappearance.
While the February search failed to yield further clues, a backhoe crew working nearby Aug. 18 dug up some women’s undergarments. The items were turned over to Kenney, who said he sent them to a lab for DNA testing.
“If we get something positive, we’ll be back out there digging again,” Kenney said.
Kenney was head of the MCSO-Anna Maria substation in November 2008, when it was determined Musil-Buehler was missing.
He was involved in the initial investigation and returned to the case when he was transferred from Anna Maria to the MCSO homicide division after completing his tour.
William Cumber’s day in court is scheduled for October, more than two years after he was arrested by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for the November 2008 murder of the Holmes Beach resident and motel owner.
The trial is scheduled on the docket for the week beginning Oct. 20, according to Manatee County online court records.
The court was first set to hear the case in April, but it was canceled by Judge Charles Roberts and reset to October. Cumber, 44, remains in the Manatee County jail.
He was arrested Oct. 12, 2012, and charged with the second-degree murder of Musil-Buehler, who was last seen the night of Nov. 4, 2008. At the time, Musil-Buehler and Cumber were living together in an Anna Maria apartment on Magnolia Avenue.
Although Musil-Buehler’s body has not been found, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detectives gathered enough evidence from 2008-12 to obtain an arrest warrant for Cumber.
He was arrested at the Charlotte County Correctional Facility where he was serving a sentence for violation of his parole on an unrelated earlier conviction.
Cumber has entered a not guilty plea to the charge of second-degree murder, which carries a maximum life sentence. He has demanded a trial by jury.
Cumber’s public defender is Carolyn Schlemmer and the prosecuting attorney is Art Brown.
Although separated, Musil-Buehler was co-owner with her husband Tom Buehler of Haley’s Motel in Holmes Beach. He continues to operate the motel.