A year ago this week, on Oct. 15, 2016, William Cumber provided investigators with a clue with which the finally unlocked a seven-year-long mystery: The location on Anna Maria Island where he buried businesswoman Sabine Musil-Buehler after he killed her.
He revealed the grisly details on the crime as part of a plea bargain in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence.
The next day, after Cumber led them to the spot under a beachfront canopy where he said he buried his girlfriend, investigators found Musil-Buehler’s skeletal remains.
Musil-Buehler had last been seen alive on Nov. 4, 2008 — Election Day.
That night, during an argument, Cumber struck the woman twice in the head before choking her to death. He then rolled her body up in a bed sheet, put her body on the back seat of her car, picked up a shovel from the motel she owned with her estranged husband and buried her at the end of the road, near the beach on Anna Maria Island.
“She said she couldn’t do this relationship anymore because of certain issues,” Cumber told investigators in a recorded interview. “She said it was getting stressful.”
Cumber quickly became a suspect in the case, but in the next seven years, during which Cumber was sentenced to prison for violating his probation for an earlier conviction, no charges were filed in the case, namely because investigators were never able to find Musil-Buehler’s remains. Over the years and convinced she was dead, they searched various locations on the island to no avail.
Until Cumber finally came clean.
“I’m really not a violent person when I’m drink, I’m kind of smooth and relaxed and everything, but there was a lot of stress going on in our relationship,” he said.