MANATEE — The meticulous beachfront search for missing Anna Maria Island woman Sabine Musil-Buehler will continue Monday and perhaps Tuesday if nothing is found today.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office had hoped to wrap up the most recent search for the missing Musil-Buehler, former owner of Haley’s Motel, with today’s dig on a stretch of Anna Maria Island beach, but it will take more time than anticipated, said Dave Bristow, a sheriff’s office spokesman.
“We got delayed a bit so we don’t think we will finish today,” Bristow said this morning. “The plan now is to finish early next week and get cadaver dogs out there after that.”
By noon today no remains had been found, Bristow added.
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Front-loaders were digging deep enough today to reach the water table on the beach between Cedar and Willow avenues, hoping to find the remains of Musil-Buehler, who has been missing since November, 2008 and is presumed dead.
Although no arrests have been made in her case, authorities have repeatedly named Musil-Buehler’s boyfriend, William Cumber, as a person of interest.
Cumber is currently serving a 13-year term in state prison for a probation violation.
When personal items belonging to Musil-Buehler were found near the beach on July 9, authorities felt they had a break in the three-year-old case, Bristow said.
“We really felt we would find her,” Bristow said.
The idea to begin digging for skeletal remains was immediately set into motion, leading to the past two weeks of operations on the beach.
Expert front-loader operators were brought in, including David Livingston of Ellenton, who works for the sheriff’s office.
“As we drop each load of sand we can see everything falling through the windshield of the front-loader,” Livingston said.
On Thursday, Livingston tooted the horn on the front-loader to get crime scene tech Amy Pettit to run and check out something dark, which ended up being driftwood.
While investigators are frustrated that remains have not been found, the visibility of the sheriff’s office on the beach has led to numerous tips, Bristow said.
“We have picked up information on this recent dig,” Bristow said. “You just never know.”
Anyone with information about the Musil-Buehler case, including tips as to where she could be buried, can call the sheriff's office at (941) 747-3011, ext. 2260 and just mention the name “Sabine,” Bristow said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.