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Date of Issue: January 21, 2009

Corona seeks trial, bond reduction

Sabine Musil-Buehler

The man arrested allegedly fleeing from a missing Holmes Beach woman’s car last November is seeking a trial.

The name at the top of the prosecutor’s potential witness list in its case against Robert Corona is Sabine Musil-Buehler, 49, the owner of Haley’s Motel who was reported missing Nov. 6, 2008.

Corona, 38, is charged with grand theft auto, a third-degree felony; resisting or obstructing an officer without violence, a first-degree misdemeanor and no valid driver’s license, a second-degree misdemeanor in the case.

The trial is tentatively set for March.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Corona after a chase early Nov. 6. A deputy had tried to stop the car for a traffic violation. The driver tried to flee, leading to a foot-chase in the neighborhood. With the assistance of a police dog, deputies pursued Corona and found him hiding under a truck.

They also recovered Musil-Buehler’s convertible on 26th Avenue West.

When MCSO deputies reported the find to husband Tom Buehler, with whom Musil-Buehler is separated, he filed a missing person report.

The earliest public notice of Musil-Buehler’s disappearance from the MCSO indicated that a witness saw Musil-Buehler on 14th Street West in Bradenton on Nov. 5, a day after she was last seen on Anna Maria Island by her boyfriend, William Cumber III.

Cumber, who is in the Manatee County jail on a charge unrelated to the disappearance, has said Musil-Buehler left the home she rented in Anna Maria late on Nov. 4 after an argument with him.

The MCSO later said the sighting of Musil-Buehler on 14th Street on Nov. 5 proved false, that it was provided by Corona, who had said he was given the keys to her car to go by some drugs.

Corona, according to court documents, later told authorities that he did not know Musil-Buehler and that he found her car, with the key in the ignition, in a parking lot at the Gator Lounge.

Musil-Buehler’s car contained what the MCSO described as a small amount of her blood in the front seat and personal belongings, including clothes, in the trunk. Her purse and cell phone were not recovered.

The MCSO has said Corona is not a person of interest in Musil-Buehler’s disappearance, which was followed with a fire at Haley’s Motel on Nov. 16 that remains under investigation. Officials have called the fire suspicious and sources have said it was intentionally set but it has not officially been declared arson.

But Corona remains in the county jail on $50,000 bond, an amount assistant public defender Patrick Kane said is excessive.

Last week, Kane filed a motion to reduce Corona’s bond that will be considered Feb. 5 at the Manatee County Judicial Center.

The motion stated that the “bond is excessive and violates the defendant’s rights under the 8th and 14th amendments.”

Corona has been in jail since his arrest Nov. 6.

Meanwhile, assistant state attorney Tony Casoria filed a list of potential witnesses in its case against Corona, as well as a list of possible evidence.

The witness list includes Musil-Buehler and Cumber, as well as several deputies and a detective with the MCSO. The list also contained the names of two Bradenton residents, Diane Couran and Hubert Franklin.

Potential evidence includes a taped statement to authorities by Corona, numerous MCSO reports and a pending lab report.

Cumber, meanwhile, remains jailed for allegedly violating his probation on a 2005 arson conviction for burning an ex-girlfriend’s house. Cumber served time in prison and, after his release last September, was on probation until 2011.

The Florida Department of Corrections said he violated his probation when he was arrested in Marion County in December for driving with no valid driver’s license.

From Marion County, Cumber was extradited to Manatee County and is being held in jail on no bond.

In a motion filed at the courthouse last week, Cumber denied he violated probation, waived his arraignment and requested a hearing within 15 days.


Rewards offered

Manatee County’s Gold Star Club is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the whereabouts of Sabine Musil-Buehler or information leading to the person or persons responsible for her disappearance.

Also, the Sabine Buehler Benefit Fund is accepting donations at Whitney Bank, 5324 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Money raised also will go toward a reward for information.

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.