Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube announces skeleton found
Investigators ID skeleton as Anna Maria Island businesswoman Sabine Musil-Buehler
HOLMES BEACH -- Skeletal remains found Friday on Holmes Beach have been identified as those of Sabine Musil-Buehler, bringing investigators and her family to the end of a seven-year murder mystery.
The Anna Maria Island woman was last seen wearing Converse sneakers before she was murdered Nov. 4, 2008.
The shoes also were found with her remains.
Just after 10 a.m. Friday, the skeleton was fully exposed by crime scene technicians with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office who had been working since Thursday to unearth the Anna Maria Island resident's remains.
The remains were found about 3 feet deep in the sand under a pavilion on Holmes Beach where her boyfriend William Cumber told investigators he buried the body after beating and strangling the woman during an argument.
Expecting it to take several days using DNA to positively identify the remains, the Medical Examiner's Office was able to identify the remains using Musil-Buehler's dental records by late Friday afternoon.
In court Thursday, Cumber accepted a plea agreement in which he confessed and detailed the murder in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence. Cumber showed detectives where he buried Musil-Buehler as part of the deal or else he would have faced more than 22 years in prison.
On Thursday afternoon, once a Converse sneaker became visible, excavation was suspended. Work began again just before 8 a.m. Friday with the guidance of an archeologist and medical examiners.
Once the skeleton was visible, the work became tedious, Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said. Instead of using shovels and hand tools, paint brushes had to be used to finish unearthing the remains.
"There's just so many things that could be there, for instance, material such as the clothing that was worn," Steube said.
An anthropologist and a couple students helped guide crime scene technicians as they worked on their hands and knees to unearth the body, he added.
"You can only stay in that position so long, so we are rotating our people in and out," Steube said.
Detectives also assisted by sifting through sand already removed to make sure no remains were left behind.
It took several hours to completely remove Musil-Buehler's remains Friday. They were then taken to the Medical Examiner's Office where they were identified. An autopsy is planned for Musil-Buehler's remains, but the timing in uncertain.
"We still want to confirm the manner and find out the cause of death," sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow said.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.