ANNA MARIA -- The search has resumed on Anna Maria Island for the body of businesswoman Sabine Musil-Buehler, believed to have been killed by her boyfriend.
Musil-Buehler, 49, went missing Nov. 4, 2008.
William Cumber, her boyfriend, was charged with second-degree murder in October 2012 despite her body never being recovered. Investigators say traces of her blood found in her car and apartment were among the pieces of evidence that led to the charge.
After reviewing evidence in the case, the Manatee Sheriff's Office decided to search for Musil-Buehler's body in an area of the island not searched before.
"We decided we needed to look out at the island on the opposite side," sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow said.
Investigators had searched the Gulf side of Anna Maria Island previously for Musil-Buehler's body. Drawing new conclusions from evidence, investigators decided to search an undeveloped plot on the bay side off of South Bay Boulevard, he said.
"Last week we were out there with the dogs and got a couple hits," Bristow said.
In previous beach searches, cadaver dogs have indicated detections but no body was found.
The sheriff's office cleared debris from the areas where dogs detected something and intend to bring the dogs back when weather permits.
"We're still working hard and welcome any tips from people of the whereabouts of her body," Bristow said. "We feel it's a strong case and obviously the prosecutor does, too. But if we get the body that would help."
Musil-Buehler was a well-known Holmes Beach resident and co-owner of Haley's Motel on Anna Maria Island.
Cumber is now in the Manatee County jail as he awaits an Oct. 20 murder trial.
Cumber is also serving a 13-year, six-month sentence for violating probation for an arson conviction.
Suzi Fox, executive director of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, said she knew Musil-Buehler through the group and work.
"She was strong-willed but great fun," the 56-year-old said of Musil-Buehler, one of her first turtle watch volunteers. "She was powerful in her personality. When she had an issue that was important to her heart, like care of animals, the environment, the Earth, beach or proper management of recycling... she would back them 100 percent."
Fox said different walks of life took them on different avenues but Musil-Buehler was "one of the strongest environmentalists" she knew.
"It would be nice to finally put some closure on it," Fox said. "She has grandkids and I'm sure they're sensitive young kids -- and it would be nice to have an answer as to what happened to Grandma."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, contributed to this report.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.