Wife of Murdered Newton Falls Pilot Karl Hoerig Arrested in Brazil, May Finally Face Extradition


Karl Hoerig and his wife, Claudia.
  • Karl Hoerig and his wife, Claudia.
For the family and friends of Karl Hoerig, the last decade has been a heartbreaker.

In March 2007, Hoerig — a decorated U.S. Air Force pilot and all-around great guy  — was found shot dead in his home in Newton Falls, a small town outside Warren. Police immediately had a suspect: Hoerig had become estranged from his wife, a Brazilian woman named Claudia, after a rocky and strange marriage. Hoerig was looking to get out. Claudia wasn't interested in letting him go. The final weeks of the marriage — documented by Scene in a 2011 cover story — were an accelerating tailspin that ended with Hoerig's murder. 

But in the hours after the shooting, Claudia flew to her home country. For the last nine years, she's been living in Brazil because the United States doesn't have a firm extradition treaty with the country in cases involving nationals in non-drug cases. That all seemed to have changed in the last 48 hours. 

Yesterday, Brazil's high court affirmed a decision by the country's Ministry of Justice to revoke Claudia's Brazilian citizenship, allowing for extradition to move forward, according to WKBN. Earlier this month, Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins was able to get the FBI to place Claudia on the agency's Most Wanted List. 

Following the Brazilian court decision, last night, Claudia was arrested by local law enforcement, according to U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan's office. It appears, after nearly a decade, Hoerig's family might finally see Claudia back in the U.S. to face charges. 

“Until I see her brought into a courtroom by Trumbull County Sheriff’s deputies, and that would be Courtroom Number One to be arraigned and stand trial, I will have some concern,” Watkins told WKBN

So, fingers crossed. The last decade has been particularly hard on the friends and family Karl left behind — folks who haven't given up despite having geopolitics upsetting what appears to be a very clear cut case. We'll keep updating the story as more information becomes available. 

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