“48 HOURS” TRACKS DOWN THE ACCUSED KILLER OF A DECORATED MILITARY PILOT IN BRAZIL – WILL THE UNITED STATES GET HER SENT BACK TO FACE A JURY?
Erin Moriarty Is on the Hunt for an Alleged Killer in “A Brother’s Mission”
Saturday, Nov. 25, 10:00 PM
(L-R) Karl and Claudia Hoerig, Paul Hoerig
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Erin Moriarty and 48 HOURS head to Brazil to track down the accused killer of a decorated military pilot from Ohio, in “A Brother’s Mission” to be broadcast Saturday, Nov. 25 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Karl Hoerig was found shot dead in his Newton Falls, Ohio home in March 2007. His family and friends immediately suspected his second wife, Claudia. At the time, the couple was going through a rocky patch. Hoerig’s friends say he was getting ready to seek a divorce.
“The way I found out was my oldest brother called and told me. He just said, ‘Karl’s dead. As soon as he said ‘Karl’s dead,’ I already knew who did it. Right away, I knew it was her,” says Paul Hoerig.
By the time Hoerig’s body was found, Claudia had allegedly emptied their bank account and was back in her homeland, Brazil. Claudia Hoerig also bought a .357 Magnum handgun just days before Karl was killed. One month after his death, Claudia Hoerig was charged in absentia with aggravated murder.
There was little mystery about who had committed the crime. But there was a big question about whether she would be brought to justice. Brazilian law prevents Brazilian citizens from being extradited.
“She knew all she had to do was not get caught until she got to Brazil and she was home free,” said Karl’s friend Chris Swegan.
But there’s a big twist in this story that raised questions of international law and brought the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Brazil. Claudia Hoerig was also an American citizen and had renounced her Brazilian citizenship when she took that U.S. citizenship oath in 1999. Could she still be protected from extradition under Brazilian law? Will a family get justice for a slain war hero?
“We knew it wasn’t gonna be easy,” Paul Hoerig tells Moriarty. “But I don’t think we thought it was going to take more than 10 years.”
Time may be running out for Claudia Hoerig. Trumbull County prosecuting attorney Dennis Watkins has fought hard to get officials in three presidential administrations to bring Claudia back to stand trial, yet she’s still in Brazil. Watkins, along with Karl Hoerig’s friends and family, is pushing the current administration to take action.
Hoerig and Moriarty traveled to Brazil to investigate Claudia’s life for the past decade there. They learned that after she moved to Brazil she owned an accounting business and found a new husband. She was not living like a fugitive, Moriarty reports.
Paul Hoerig tells Moriarty it “makes me mad” to know she was living such a comfortable life while his brother was dead.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to get justice for my brother,” Paul Hoerig tells Moriarty.
48 HOURS: “A Brother’s Mission” is produced by Alec Sirken, Lisa Freed, Judy Rybak and Josh Yager. Charlotte Fuller is the development producer. Lauren Clark is the field producer. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.