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Congressman Tim Ryan

Representing the 13th District of Ohio

Justice for Karl Hoerig

For a decade I have fought for justice for Major Karl Hoerig and his family. I want to give you an important update on my efforts to bring Claudia Hoerig to trial for the murder of her husband and my constituent, U.S. Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig.

In March 2007, Claudia Hoerig fatally shot her husband Karl twice in the back of the neck and once in the back of the head at their home in Newton Falls, Ohio.  Days before, she had purchased a Smith & Wesson .357 five shot revolver and practiced shooting the weapon at the Warren Shooting Range in Warren, Ohio. Claudia had also emptied her husband’s bank account and wired the money to relatives in Brazil. After being charged with aggravated murder by the Court of Common Pleas of Trumbull County, she fled to her native Brazil. Claudia Hoerig has remained free from justice since then, avoiding trial by taking advantage of a provision in the Brazilian constitution that bans extradition of Brazilian citizens.

In May 2013, I passed an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee to restrict immigrant visas for Brazilian nationals and citizens, which would put a moratorium on processing any additional visas for Brazilian citizens. Although this amendment was later taken out of the final Appropriations bill, it got the attention of Brazil. In July 2013, Brazil revoked Claudia Hoerig’s citizenship, the first step in the process of extraditing her to the United States to stand trial. Until this point, Brazil’s refusal to extradite its citizens was the primary barrier to extraditing Claudia, but I relentlessly petitioned Brazil to revoke her citizenship so the extradition could move forward.

In 2016, there was a major break in the case. Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins and I announced that Brazil’s Supreme Court justices ruled 3-2 to uphold the Brazilian Ministry of Justice’s decision to revoke Claudia Hoerig's Brazilian citizenship – closing off one of her last options to avoid extradition back to Ohio and allowing the extradition process to proceed. The U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde, notified me by phone that Brazilian authorities have arrested Claudia and are holding her in custody. I am deeply grateful for Ambassador Ayalde and the foreign service officers assisting in this case for their hard work and commitment to justice.

It has been ten years since Major Hoerig had his life cut short, and for ten years his family and friends have seen no justice. This is a man who bravely served our nation, with nearly 200 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan under his belt, and we owe it to him to ensure his killer stands trial. While Claudia Hoerig’s lawyers will surely attempt to place procedural hurdles in our way, I am cautiously optimistic that we have taken a massive leap forward in holding her accountable for her crime. I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that Major Hoerig and his loved ones finally get the justice they have been denied for so long.

More on Justice for Karl Hoerig

January 18, 2018 Press Release

Washington, DC -- Congressman Tim Ryan released the following statement regarding the extradition of Claudia Hoerig, who was booked into the Trumbull County Jail this evening for the 2007 murder of her husband, Major Karl Hoerig. 

May 3, 2017 Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan today urged President Trump to assist with the ongoing effort to have Claudia Hoerig extradited to the United States to stand trial for the murder of her husband, U.S. Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig.

The full letter can be found here or below:

May 2, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

March 13, 2017 Press Release

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.

April 20, 2016 Press Release

UPDATE: The United States Ambassador to Brazil Liliana Ayalde in a phone call notified Congressman Ryan this evening that Brazilian Authorities have arrested Claudia Hoerig and are holding her in custody. Congressman Ryan expresses his deepest gratitude to Ambassador Ayalde and all the foreign service officers assisting in this case for their hard work and commitment to justice.

June 29, 2015 Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan is calling on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who is visiting the United States this week, to return Claudia Hoerig to our country to stand trial in the murder of her husband Karl in Newton Falls,OH in 2007. President Rousseff is coming to the United States looking for export opportunities, which should be tied to positive actions in the Hoerig case.

July 31, 2013 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Ryan announced today that the Brazilian government has revoked Claudia Hoerig’s Brazilian citizenship—the first step in the process of extraditing her to the United States to stand trial for the 2007 murder of her husband, U.S. Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig. The announcement comes shortly after legislative efforts by Congressman Ryan garnered international attention to the case. Until now, Brazil’s refusal to extradite any of its own citizens has been the main barrier towards extraditing Claudia.