There's been a break in the case of a missing Manatee County businesswoman. Four years after Sabine Musil-Buehler disappeared, deputies have arrested her boyfriend.
No one had seen or heard from her since 2008.
"She has not been seen by any relatives or friends, and there has been no activity on credit cards, at the banks, telephones, or anything else associated with her," said Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube.
"I'm positive Sabine's not with us anymore," said her husband at the time, Tom Buehler. They were separated, but they ran Haley's Hotel together on Anna Maria Island.
Tom Buehler told us back then that he knew something awful had happened to her. She was an avid cat lover and he said she never would have abandoned them.
Her boyfriend, 42-year-old William Cumber, told police they had been fighting.
"She was upset because I was smoking and she caught me smoking a cigarette," Cumber said back in 2008. "She was upset."
Her apartment on Magnolia Street was the last place Cumber told investigators he saw Sabine alive. They had some sort of argument and he said she left. Later, investigators found traces of her blood and his. According to police reports, officers said there was a strong smell of bleach, and indications that someone tried to clean blood.
Still, Sheriff Steube said he could not reveal what their overwhelming evidence is yet.
"I wish I could tell you that," he said at a news conference Monday afternoon in Bradenton. "But we're gonna have to wait for the prosecution of the case."
Manatee detectives have never stopped working this case. There were extensive digs, searches with cadaver dogs, ground-penetrating radar, and leads generated from people calling in to Crimestoppers. Steube said detectives found her purse in a wooded area last July – but her body has never been found.
"A case without a body is a difficult case at best," said Steube. "But I believe the State Attorney's Office believes that we've presented a good case here and we can go forward."
Anna Maria local J.D. White told us this case has been the talk of the town ever since, yet no one has any good idea where to look for her.
"The worst that ever happens is a bicycle gets stolen," White said.
Cumber is now charged with Sabine's murder. He was served in his cell in the Charlotte Correctional Institution in Punta Gorda Monday, then was transported to the Manatee County Jail. Sheriff Steube is confident they've got the right guy.
"We believe that the case we have presented to the State Attorney's Office is strong," he said.
The sheriff added that they will continue searching for Sabine's body, and they hope someone else from the community will step forward with new information.
"I hope they see it and read it and jump on it, even if they want to do it anonymously, call Crimestoppers. We're willing to run any of it down at this point," Steube said. "Each time, we'd get a tip and we'd go to these locations and we either search with the ground-penetrating equipment or we'd go and search with the cadaver dogs, or we'd go and search with our front endloaders on the beach, just hoping that we would find her body."
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