MANATEE CO., - It's an arrest that's taken four years to make.
The state attorney spent more than seven months reviewing the evidence, and this morning Manatee County Sheriff's deputies made an arrest in the disappearance of Holmes Beach motel owner Sabine Musil-Buehler.
Deputies arrested 42-year-old William Cumber at the Charlotte County jail, where he has been serving a 13-year sentence for violation of probation. Manatee investigators say when Cumber learned the charge was murder, he was "taken aback."
Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said during a press conference, "A case without a body is difficult case at best, but I believe, and I believe the state attorney believes, we've presented a good case to move forward."
It's a good enough case, said Sheriff Steube, to charge Cumber with the murder of his 49-year-old girlfriend, Musil-Buehler. She disappeared on November 4, 2008. When deputies found her stolen car a day later, they question Cumber at the couple's beach apartment.
Steube said, "His statement was they argued and she left the apartment in her car."
According to the probable cause affidavit, deputies stated they noticed a strong smell of bleach in the apartment during their interview with Cumber. Crime scene technicians later found blood.
During the last four years, deputies searched for Sabine's body. They even carried out two digs, including a 3-week long dig last summer on Bradenton Beach. Deputies did another beach dig where her purse turned up in the palmetto brush behind a beach home. They said they are convinced Sabine is dead.
Steube said, "Since November 4, 2008, Sabine Musil-Buehler has not been seen by relatives or friends, and there's been no activity on credit cards, banks, telephones, anything associated with her."
Sheriff Steube said Cumber has not confessed, but he has made a statement with information that investigators believe only the killer would know.
Cumber will have his first appearance before a Manatee County judge tomorrow at 1 p.m. Steube believes Sabine's body is buried somewhere in Manatee County.
The sheriff sids Buehler's family in Germany is happy an arrest has been made. Buehler's ex-husband and business partner, Thomas Buehler, could not be reached for comment.