Story Tools

Date of Issue: January 13, 2010

Hearing set in Buehler case

A local judge will hold a hearing Feb. 12 on Tom Buehler’s petition to declare his estranged wife, Sabine Musil-Buehler, dead.

Musil-Buehler, co-owner of Haley’ Motel in Holmes Beach, has been missing since Nov. 6, 2008, when her car was recovered in Bradenton from a man now convicted of grand theft auto. The vehicle contained Musil-Buehler’s possessions, as well as small amounts of her blood.

Almost immediately the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the disappearance as a possible homicide.

Details of her last known whereabouts were provided by her boyfriend, William Cumber, who said they were watching election returns Nov. 4, 2008, and had an argument about his smoking a cigarette. Cumber said Musil-Buehler left their Anna Maria apartment in her car, and he did not see her again.

Several months ago, Tom Buehler filed a motion in circuit court asking that a judge declare his wife dead.

Florida law provides for the issuance of a death certificate for “a person who is absent from the place of his or her last known domicile for a continuous period of five years and whose absence is not satisfactorily explained after diligent search and inquiry is presumed to be dead.”

The law also states, that “evidence showing that the absent person was exposed to a specific peril of death may be a sufficient basis for the court determining at any time after such exposure that he or she died less than five years after the date on which his or her absence commenced.”

Buehler’s complaint states, “On Nov. 6, 2008, Sabine Musil-Buehler was exposed to a specific peril of death in that the evidence would show that on that date she was abducted and killed.”

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 12 before Judge Edward Nicholas.