ANNA MARIA -- Manatee County sheriff’s investigators believe a bright, tranquil stretch of sea grass and small trees at the tip of Willow Avenue where items related to a missing local woman were found may still be holding some dark secret.
Detectives are heading back to Willow Avenue this morning near the beach on Anna Maria Island to search for clues in the case of missing Anna Maria Island businesswoman Sabine Musil-Buehler, said Dave Bristow, a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
On Wednesday, cadaver dogs discovered “several positive hits” on Willow Avenue after they accompanied deputies who were checking out items found Saturday.
“We dug but did not find anything,” Bristow said. He could not say how deeply deputies dug to try to find human remains.
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The Musil-Buehler case began heating up again Saturday when resident Ed Moss found items while clearing land on Willow Avenue in front of his family’s beach-front property.
Sheriff Brad Steube has not disclosed what items were found, but called them a “significant find.”
A detective from the sheriff’s office plans to drive to a state prison in the Panhandle with the found items to interview William Cumber, Musil-Buehler’s boyfriend, Bristow said.
Although no arrests have been made in the case, officials have long called Cumber a person of interest. He is the last person reported to have seen her alive on Nov. 4, 2008. “We are going up to talk to him,” Bristow said.
Cumber is serving a 13-year prison sentence for violating his probation after she disappeared. He had been on probation for an earlier arson conviction.
Two days after she was last seen, Musil-Buehler’s car was found parked outside a 14th Street West bar in Bradenton, and Robert Corona was arrested on auto-theft charges. Corona is not considered a suspect in her disappearance, sheriff’s officials have said.
Moss said he called deputies right after his discovery, but didn’t think it had anything to do with Musil-Buehler.
Musil-Buehler, who was 49 when she went missing, was an advocate for missing children, a successful hotelier and a member of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.