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Date of Issue: November 11, 2009

Hearing set in Musil-Buehler case

A Manatee County judge in December will hear an argument for dismissing a motion to declare Sabine Musil-Buehler dead.



Tom Buehler, owner of Haley’s Motel in Holmes Beach, filed a motion earlier this year asking the court to declare deceased his estranged wife.

The defendant in Buehler’s motion, Great American Life Insurance Company, is seeking to have it dismissed.

Sabine Musil-Buehler was reported missing Nov. 6, 2008, and many relatives, friends and officials believe she is dead.

State 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 motion 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.”

The complaint continues, “Sabine Musil-Buehler has not been seen or heard from since Nov. 6, 2008, and has had no contact with the petitioner, family or friends and all reasonable inferences would be that she is deceased.”

Court documents indicate that Musil-Buehler had no will and that Tom Buehler would be her sole heir and the beneficiary of a $300,000 life insurance policy obtained in September 2002.

On Oct. 13, Great American Life Insurance Co. attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the complaint from Buehler, who is the beneficiary of Musil-Buehler’s life insurance policy.

“Florida law is clear. Where an insured has disappeared or is otherwise missing, a cause of action against a carrier, based on a life insurance policy, does not accrue until the expiration of the five-year period,” the motion to dismiss states.

A hearing on the insurance company’s request is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.