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Date of Issue: January 07, 2009

New reward offered in Haley's mystery

Sabine Musil-Buehler

Manatee County’s Gold Star Club upped the ante for information helping to solve the disappearance of Haley’s Motel owner Sabine Musil-Buehler.

The club is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the whereabouts of Musil-Buehler or information leading to the person or persons responsible for her disappearance. The club, formed at the request of former Sheriff Charlie Wells, is a group of citizens who raise money for rewards leading to arrests in serious crimes, usually crimes against children and homicides.

Islanders in the club include Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine, Pa and Kent Davis and Jim and Suzanne Van Gundy.

Another reward fund, established by friends and family, is accepting donations at Whitney Bank, 5324 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, in the name of the Sabine Buehler Benefit Fund.

Musil-Buehler, 49, has been missing since Nov. 4, when she had an argument with her boyfriend, William Cumber III, and left the Anna Maria home that she rented and he occupied.

The missing person report describes Musil-Buehler as about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 136 pounds, with silver hair, green eyes and a German accent.

Meanwhile, Cumber, 39, the last known person to see Musil-Buehler before her disappearance, was transferred to the Manatee County jail last week from Marion County for a violation of his probation.

Law enforcement officials have described Cumber as a “person of interest” in Musil-Buehler’s disappearance and the Nov. 16 fire at Haley’s Motel, which she co-owns with husband Tom Buehler.

Cumber was arrested near Ocala Dec. 23 for driving with a suspended license, a charge unrelated to the fire or the missing person cases. Stopped driving a pickup truck with an expired tag, Cumber was arrested for driving without a license, which according to the Florida Department of Corrections violated the rules of his probation on a conviction unrelated to the ongoing investigations. Cumber was sentenced on Jan. 4, 2006, to arson with willful damage to a dwelling for setting fire to a girlfriend’s house.

On Dec. 23, a FDC report of the probation violation was filed at the Manatee County Judicial Center, but the document was classified as “confidential.” A court statement read, “Public access to the record … is prohibited by Florida or Federal law.”

Cumber, in interviews with the press, has said he last saw Musil-Buehler at about 10 p.m. Nov. 4. The two were watching election night news in a home she rented on Magnolia Avenue in Anna Maria when they got into an argument about Cumber smoking a cigarette.

Cumber said Musil-Buehler left in her car and he has not seen her since.

Musil-Buehler’s white Pontiac convertible was found early Nov. 6 with a small amount of her blood in the front seat and her clothes and personal belongings in the trunk.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Robert Corona, 38, for alleged grand theft auto after capturing him fleeing from the vehicle.

Corona first told detectives someone gave him the key to the car to go buy drugs, but he later said he found the car with the key in the ignition in a parking lot at the Gator Lounge on 14th Street in Bradenton.

Corona is scheduled for a court appearance Jan. 14.

Last week, he wrote the court asking for a reduction of bond. Bond in the case was set at $50,000. He indicated he could come up with $2,000.

Authorities have said that Corona is not a “person of interest” in Musil-Buehler’s disappearance, but the day after fire damaged a two-story building at Haley’s, authorities did identify Cumber as a “person of interest.”

Cumber has said he believes he is being framed.

In both the fire and the disappearance, investigators continue to await the results of tests on collected evidence.

The MCSO has deemed Musil-Buehler’s disappearance a possible homicide.

Sources close to the fire investigation have said it was intentionally set, although the Holmes Beach Police Department, the lead investigating agency on the fire, maintains it is “suspicious.”

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.