Thur. 10:40 a.m.: Family of slain U.S. airman speaks after accused killer returned from Brazil

WARREN – The brother of slain airman Karl Hoerig, whose accused killer – his wife, Claudia Hoerig – evaded capture in her native Brazil for nearly 11 years after the shooting death said today the family was told at about 8 p.m. she was in the custody of local law enforcement.

“I got a call from (Trumbull County) Prosecutor (Dennis) Watkins, who told me ‘she’s back,'” said Karl’s brother, Paul Hoerig.

She was flown into the Akron-Canton Airport on her way to the Trumbull County Jail, where she remains until a scheduled court appearance 10 a.m. Friday on a charge of aggravated murder.

“I was happy surprised it was so unexpected at this time,” Hoerig said. “I would like to thank the whole community for being so supportive.”

Karl Hoerig, a major in the U.S. Air Force, was shot in the back of his head March 12, 2007, while tying his shoes. His body was found by police three days later. The day of the shooting, Claudia Hoerig emptied his bank account, wired money to relatives in Brazil and bought a .357 revolver, according to investigators.

They said she used that gun to shoot Karl Hoerig and then fled the U.S. to avoid prosecution.

She used her husband’s status as a commercial airline pilot to fly to Brazil, where she remained for almost 11 years while local, state and federal law enforcement and elected officials fought to have her brought back to stand trial.

Hoerig also said he was appreciative of the efforts of the Brazilian government for returning Claudia Hoerig.

“That is something they are not known for doing something like this,” he said. “It was nice to see the two governments work together.”

Larry Diemand, who now lives in Mentor, worked with Karl Hoerig in the 1990s. Diemand, who was a retired lieutenant colonel and also manager at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, started the “Justice for Carl Hoerig” website.

“We are all very happy for the family,” Diemand said. “People have been posting their comments ever since the news broke.”

County jail records show that Hoerig was booked in at 12:48 a.m. Thursday.

Watkins said he expects to file more legal documents in the case after Friday’s arraignment.