Congressman Tim Ryan Marks Ten Year Anniversary of Karl Hoerig Murder

Mar 13, 2017 Issues: Justice for Karl Hoerig

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan marks ten years having passed since U.S. Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig, a veteran with nearly 200 combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan under his belt, was found fatally shot in his home on March 12, 2007. The primary suspect, who has also been charged with the murder, is Claudia Hoerig, his wife at the time. She fled the US and is currently avoiding justice in her native country of Brazil.

“This weekend will mark ten years since Major Karl Hoerig had his life cut short. Karl bravely served our nation, with nearly 200 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan under his belt – we owe it to him to ensure that his killer, Claudia Hoerig, stands trial for her heinous crime,” said Congressman Ryan. “As we remember Karl Hoerig’s life now ten years later, I remain as committed as ever to making sure that Claudia Hoerig is returned to the United States to face justice.”

On July 31, 2013, Brazil revoked Claudia Hoerig’s citizenship —the first step in the process of extraditing her to the United States to stand trial. The announcement came shortly after legislative efforts by Congressman Ryan garnered international attention to the case. Until this point, Brazil’s refusal to extradite any of its own citizens was the main barrier towards extraditing Claudia. Congressman Ryan petitioned Brazil to revoke Claudia’s citizenship so the extradition could move forward.

Last April, Brazil’s Supreme Court justices ruled by a majority of three to two to uphold the Brazilian Ministry of Justice’s administrative decision that had revoked Claudia Hoerig's Brazilian citizenship – allowing extradition procedures to move forward.

Background on the murder of Karl Hoerig:

On March 15th, 2007 U.S. Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig was found fatally shot in his home. Claudia Hoerig, his wife at the time has been charged with her crime. Three days prior to Karl being found, Claudia had emptied her husband’s bank account, wired additional money to relatives in Brazil, and fled the U.S. to her native country of Brazil.

As a private pilot for Southwest Airlines, Karl and Claudia Hoerig were entitled to free airfare. Claudia took advantage of this benefit after the murder to flee to her home country. Claudia Hoerig has remained free from justice since 2007, avoiding trial by taking advantage of a provision in the Brazilian constitution that bans extradition of any Brazilian citizen. This provision in the Brazilian constitution was added after a 1961 treaty in which Brazil promised to extradite criminals such as Hoerig to the U.S.

Brazilian Extradition Policy: Unlike the United States constitution, the constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil explicitly prohibits the extradition of its citizens charged with one or more criminal acts. While the United States’ policy is to extradite to Brazil persons facing charges in that country, Brazil’s law enforces the prohibition of extradition of its nationals. Nevertheless, the United States continues to provide Brazilian nationals with visas for entry into the United States. The result is that nationals of the Federative Republic of Brazil who commit criminal acts on US soil are able to evade justice under the sanctuary of the Brazilian government simply by fleeing to Brazilian territory.

Congressman Ryan maintains that Claudia Hoerig should no longer be considered a Brazilian citizen since she renounced her Brazilian citizenship when she was in the United States. The Brazilian Supreme Court has sided with Congressman Ryan and revoked Claudia’s Brazilian Citizenship but she is appealing that decision.

Congressman Ryan’s Action Timeline on the Claudia Hoerig Case:

(LETTER) May 4, 2007 letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales(link is external)

(LETTER) May 4, 2007 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice(link is external)

(LETTER) November 20, 2007 letter to Brazilian Foreign Minister Amorim (link is external)

(LETTER) November 27, 2007 letter to Brazilian Ambassador Patriota (link is external)

(LETTER) November 29, 2007 letter to Brazilian Ambassador Patriota (link is external)

(MEETING) December 18, 2007 Ryan meets with Brazilian Officials regarding Hoerig Case

(VIDEO) April 3, 2008 Ryan facilitates AMVETS Commander to speak on Hoerig Case

(LETTER) April 21, 2008 letter to Brazilian Ambassador Patriota(link is external)

(LETTER) April 21, 2008 letter to Brazilian Chamber of Deputies President Arlindo Chinaglia (link is external)

(LETTER) April 21, 2008 letter to Brazilian President Lula da Silva(link is external)

(LETTER) April 21, 2008 letter to President of the Senate Garilbaldi Alves(link is external)

(LETTER) April 21, 2008 letter to U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Clifford Sobrel(link is external)

(LETTER) April 21, 2008 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice(link is external)

(LETTER) March 4, 2009 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton(link is external)

(BILL INTRODUCTION) June 11, 2009 Ryan introduces Ryan-Boccieri Hoerig Resolution

(LETTER) March 3, 2011 letter to U.S. President Barack Obama (link is external)

(LETTER) May 26, 2011 letter to Mary Warlow, U.S. Director of International Affairs, Dept. of Justice (link is external)

(BILL INTRODUCTION) June 21, 2011 Ryan introduces Brazilian Foreign Aid Fairness Act

(LETTER) July 27, 2011 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

(VIDEO) June 7, 2012 Ryan Spoke on House Floor on Claudia Hoerig and Brazilian Visa Amendment

(BILL INTRODUCTION) February 14, 2013 Ryan Introduces "End Immunity for Brazilian Criminals Act" and the "Karl Hoerig Foreign Aid Suspension Act”

(LETTER) March 12, 2013 letter to Brazilian Ambassador Mauro Vieira

(VIDEO) April 17, 2013 Ryan protests Brazilian contract during Defense Appropriations Hearing over Hoerig Case

(PRESS RELEASE) April 22, 2013 Ryan Questions Former Defense Secretary Hagel

May 22, 2013 Ryan introduces Amendment to restrict immigrant visas for Brazilians

(PRESS RELEASE) July 31, 2013 Brazil Revokes Hoerig’s Citizenship

(VIDEO) June 5, 2013 Ryan speaks on House Floor on Amendment to Restrict Brazilian Immigrant Visas

(BILL INTRODUCTION) June 15, 2015 Ryan introduces ‘Karl Hoerig Foreign Aid Suspension Act’

(BILL INTRODUCTION) June 15, 2015 Ryan introduces ‘End Immuity for Brazilian Criminals Act’

(PRESS RELEASE) July 31, 2013 Brazil Revokes Hoerig’s Citizenship

(PRESS RELEASE) June 29, 2015 Ryan Calls on Brazilian President to Extradite Hoerig

Letters Received:

December 17, 2007 letter from Brazillian Ambassador Patriota(link is external)

December 17, 2007 letter from the U.S. State Department(link is external)

December 21, 2007 letter from the Brazil Ministry of External Relations(link is external)

January 23, 2008 letter from the Justice Department Office of Legislative Affairs(link is external)

May 23, 2008 letter from the State Department Office of Legislative Affairs(link is external)

February 24, 2009 letter from the State Department Office of Legislative Affairs(link is external)

September 19, 2011 letter from the State Department Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs

October 24. 2011 letter from the Brazillian Ambassador to the United States of America, Mauro Vieira