After more than a decade, Brazil extradites woman to Ohio for murder trial of Air Force Major husband

Legislation adopted mid-month by the Ohio House of Representatives was sent to President Donald Trump, the U.S. Secretary of State, and the U.S. Congress as part of a formal extradition process to bring Claudia Hoerig back to Trumbull County to stand trial for the murder of her husband, U.S. Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig.

The 53 year-old’s return signals a new chapter in a story which has brought international intrigue and national media attention to the Newton Falls area.

Sponsored by Rep. Glenn Holmes (D-63rd District), House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 9 urged the U.S. government to compel Brazil to return the Brazilian-born Claudia Hoerig to Ohio, or risk continued foreign aid payments. The legislation, which could be seen as mostly symbolic in nature, is substantive in that it adds to a decade of diplomatic efforts by Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and others to cement and reinforce a need for Hoerig to face trail in Trumbull County.

According to the Youngstown Vindicator, the 53 year-old appeared in court with her hands and feet chained just two days after passage of the bill on Jan. 17. Hoerig entered a plea of not guilty, and Judge Andrew Logan set bail at $10 million.

Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins is mostly credited for bringing Hoerig back to Ohio. At a press conference, Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the Cleveland FBI, lauded Watkins, saying that the veteran prosecutor’s unrelenting tenacity was what kept family supporters and elected officials focused on the extradition, and kept Karl Hoerig and his family foremost in mind.

Watkins added that the work is a testament to an overall governmental effort for justice. He acknowledged crime investigators, the U.S. Marshall’s Service, and other federal agencies for their part in the extradition. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-13th District), U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-6th District), and State Rep. John Boccieri (D-59th) were also credited for keeping public attention on the violent death of Karl Hoerig.

Ultimately it was up to the president of Brazil to send Claudia Hoerig back, Watkins said.

A statement on the Ohio House of Representatives’ 132nd General Assembly website reports that Boccieri, who served in the Air Force Reserve along with Maj. Hoerig, received news of the extradition just hours after HCR 9 was passed. The statement also notes: “While in Congress, Boccieri and Congressman Ryan led exhaustive efforts after Major Hoerig’s murder to extradite his wife, working with State Department officials and passing language in the foreign relations bill that admonished the Brazilian government for harboring a known fugitive.”

Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and U. S. Congressman Bill Johnson posted a statement on his webpage, which reads in part:

First and foremost, I’m extremely happy for Karl’s family. They have been through an ordeal that no family should suffer. I cannot imagine the pain and anguish they have been through. This day was a long time in the making. Many people, such as Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, Rep. Tim Ryan, former Rep. John Boccieri, local, state, and national law enforcement, and of course, the Hoerig Family, never gave up in their quest. This milestone is also a testament to the resiliency of the US Air Force family, the men who served with Karl, who never gave up their quest for justice for their brother; and, I’m happy to have played a role in this successful outcome since I was first elected.

Maj. Karl Hoerig’s body was discovered in his Newton Falls home in March of 2007. The highly decorated C-130 pilot with the 910th Operation Support Squadron was the father of two when he was shot three times and killed. Claudia Hoerig is accused of his death, emptying a bank account, then fleeing the county.

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