ANNA MARIA -- A black screen was erected today at a Willow Avenue footbridge where investigators are searching for clues in the disappearance of Sabine Musil-Buehler, who went missing in November 2008.
Crime scene tape blocks pedestrians from crossing the bridge, while men with shovels dig underneath.
Investigators decided to dig there on a hunch, said Sheriff Brad Steube.
But what they found was just debris from the construction of the footbridge.
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An Anna Maria Island resident found an object linked to the missing Anna Maria Island woman July 9 while clearing property to improve his view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Investigators returned to the scene last week to make a grid search through the palmettos and sea grapes to look for other clues.
Tuesday, they returned with machinery and state approvals to dig into protected dune areas and near turtle nests.
Thursday, ground-penetrating radar was used to look under the surface for clues.
Search crews will continue to explore until 3 p.m. today and then break for the weekend before resuming the search on Monday, Steube said.
To date, investigators have not reported finding any new evidence in the case of the missing motel owner and Turtle Watch member.
"We're not done yet," Steube said today of the search, adding that he is not discouraged.
Back hoes were also on the scene today to continue excavations.
During the first two days of digging Tuesday and Wednesday, tractors concentrated on turning sand only and found nothing.
But on Thursday, excavation began digging into an area of sea oats that apparently was not there in 2008 when Musil-Buehler disappeared.
No arrests have been made in the possible homicide of Musil-Buehler. But officials have long called Musil-Buehler’s boyfriend, William Cumber, a person of interest.
He is the last person reported to have seen her alive Nov. 4, 2008.
Cumber is serving a 13-year prison sentence for violating his probation after she disappeared.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.