NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – More than 11 years have passed as the family of Karl Hoerig waited for his accused killer and wife, Claudia Hoerig, to be brought to justice.
In that time, many events transpired in the case.
On March 12, 2007, Karl didn’t show for work at the Air Reserve Station in Vienna. His co-workers alerted police.
A check of Karl’s home in Newton Falls uncovered a grisly murder scene. The Air Force veteran was found dead with multiple gunshots wounds.
Newton Falls crime scene
Newton Falls crime scene x
Right away, suspicion fell on his wife, Claudia Hoerig. She had left town with all of the couple’s money.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said at the time that “she left quickly and is outside the jurisdiction of Ohio and the United States.”
Hoerig soon landed in her native Brazil, which refuses to extradite its citizens. That sparked a decade-long battle for her to return to the U.S. to face justice.
By 2011, Hoerig was living a new life of freedom in Brazil, and in Trumbull County, people were angry.
“We loved him. We want justice for Karl, but this is an issue that affects every American when Brazil can hide people,” said Larry Diemand, Karl Hoerig’s friend.
Lawmakers found every opportunity possible to draw attention to the matter. In 2013, Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C. issued a joint statement calling for Hoerig to be sent back to the U.S. They claimed that when she gained American citizenship, she gave up all Brazilian rights and that Brazil had no jurisdiction to protect her.
Congressman Tim Ryan was very vocal in the fight to bring Claudia Hoerig back to the U.S. saying, “We want the Brazilians to know this is not a political matter. This is about what is right and wrong.”
Three years later, the Brazilian Supreme Court agreed that Claudia Hoerig had given up her rights as a citizen of Brazil and that she must be sent back to the United States to stand trial.
Ultimately, it was up to the president of Brazil to actually extradite Hoerig, and there was no guarantee that would happen until November 2017, more than ten years after the murder.
The case gained national attention and was showcased on the CBS newsmagazine “48 Hours.” Reporter Erin Moriarty and her crew tracked Hoerig down and reported on her new life in Brazil, free from prosecution. At the time, Moriarty reported that Hoerig was “out of reach of Ohio authorities.”
That is not the case anymore. Months after that report and years of diplomatic wrangling, Hoerig is now in the Trumbull County Jail and will answer to the murder charges against her.