ANNA MARIA -- After almost four weeks, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office has ended its search for Sabine Musil-Buehler on Anna Maria Island.
“We would have liked to find something,” sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow said Wednesday. “You could say we are disappointed, but you knew going in there was that chance.”
Bristow said it was important for deputies to do everything they could to find the 49-year-old businesswoman, who has been missing since Nov. 4, 2008, and according to the sheriff’s office is presumed dead. No arrests have been made.
“She could be anywhere, and that makes it difficult,” Bristow said.
An Anna Maria resident on July 9 found a couple of her personal items in the bushes near his home.
That discovery led deputies to bring out cadaver dogs twice to search the area.
Deputies also used heavy construction equipment to dig up a section of beach in hopes of finding Musil-Buehler’s remains.
“You want to close every case you have,” Bristow said.
Even thought the search on the beach has stopped, detectives are still working the case.
“We are still getting information on this case and who knows, maybe something else will come out,” Bristow said.
Musil-Buehler was co-owner of Haley’s Motel in Holmes Beach with her estranged husband, Thomas.
“I just hope this will bring justice for Sabine,” Thomas Buehler said when the most recent search began last month.
He could not be reached for comment Wednesday. For those close to Musil-Buehler, the conclusion of the dig hasn’t tarnished their hope.
“I think one day they will find out what happened,” said friend Debby Hall. “It’s been three years and clues are coming up. I think eventually people get caught.”
Officials have called Musil-Buehler’s boyfriend William Cumber, who was the last person reported to see Musil-Buehler alive, “a person of interest” in the case.
Cumber was sentenced to 13 years in prison 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, however, is not considered a suspect in the woman’s disappearance, according to the sheriff’s office.
In February 2010, the sheriff’s office examined two 20-yard-long holes that were 4 to 5 feet deep and 8 to 10 feet wide dug by front-end loaders along the beach, which yielded no results.
The latest search was about a football field’s distance from where that search took place.
Anyone with information on the case can call the sheriff’s office (941) 747-3011.