Fighting for justice: Family calling for murder suspect to return to U.S.

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NEWTON FALLS, Ohio — With all eyes on Brazil right now because of the World Cup, a local family is hoping the country will do what they believe is right and send back a woman who is wanted for murdering their son, an Air Force Reserve pilot.

It’s been more than seven years since 43-year-old Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig was murdered in his Newton Falls home, and his family and friends are still waiting for the person accused of killing him, Claudia Hoerig, to face charges.

“We are never going to give up,” said Ed Hoerig, Karl’s father.

Ed Hoerig said his son flew more than 200 combat missions but ended up being killed in his own home, something they never thought would happen

“He went in the military at 19, and was in until the day he died. He served proudly,” said Ed Hoerig. “Where is his justice?”

Shortly after the murder, a Trumbull County grand jury indicted Brazilian-born Claudia Hoerig with the murder.

But Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said shortly after shooting her husband and emptying their bank accounts, Claudia Hoerig, who is also a U.S. citizen, fled to Brazil, where she was able to avoid facing U.S. charges because Brazil’s constitution prohibits the extradition of Brazilian nationals.

Last year, after pressure from U.S. officials including Congressman Tim Ryan, a court in Brazil revoked her citizenship. She appealed.  That appeal is still pending and she remains free.

Congressman Ryan told us via Skype that he believes Brazil should act quickly and let Hoerig be sent back to face trial.

“While we are all enjoying what’s going on in Brazil right now, there is this little black cloud floating around in the form of Claudia Hoerig, so let’s bring some light to the situation, let Brazil know we haven’t forgotten,” Ryan said.

The Hoerigs also said they never thought they would be waiting this long for closure.

“I thought maybe two, maybe four years,” said Fran Hoerig. “I never thought it would drag on so long. I thought someone in the government would push and get it done.”

The Hoerigs and Karl’s good friend, Larry Diemand, agree with Ryan and said it’s time Karl Hoerig gets the justice he deserves.

“Send her back,” Diemand said. “Send her back to face trial; let justice prevail.”

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