NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Newton Falls is a close community — small and everybody knows what’s going on. It has lived with the heartache of Karl Hoerig’s death for over a decade.
Retired Newton Falls Police Officer Ron Lane still has some of the legal paperwork from 2007, when he found Karl murdered.
After Karl had missed work, Ron went to his house. That’s when he noticed a hand sticking out from under a paint tarp.
“I pulled it back to identify him and it was him,” Ron said.
He called his chief and went to the courthouse to get a warrant so the task force could search the home.
Karl’s wife — Claudia Hoerig — was quickly pinpointed as the main suspect, but she was gone.
Now, Newton Falls is rejoicing because Claudia has finally been brought back from Brazil to face a murder charge in the U.S.
“I could’ve cried, I was so excited,” Margie Brown said. “My husband came into the room and said, ‘Look, look, look at the news!'”
The headline screamed that Claudia was in Trumbull County Jail.
Still, the village is wondering why the Hoerigs’ relationship broke down leading to the crime.
“If you are unhappy in your marriage, get a divorce. Murder was a bit extreme,” Dawn Dishong said.
“I can’t understand how anybody could be so brutal and have that much hate to do something like that to another human being that, actually, they were married,” Ron said.
Karl was shot twice in the back and once in the head with a .357 Magnum. Investigators found the gun mounted in a closet.
“It was in a rig that she had a string tied to the trigger. Luckily, she didn’t have it tied to the door of the closet or when someone opened the closet, it would’ve been all over,” Ron said.
Police pieced everything together and issued a warrant for Claudia’s arrest, but she was in Brazil.
“She’s been on the run, she’s been protected. There’s no way it should’ve gone on this long but the process did come through,” said Tim Stamm, who taught Karl’s son in school.
It took approval from Brazil’s president to release her, getting her back to Trumbull County after 11 years.
“Finally, she will be brought to justice and she will have to face what she’s done,” Dawn said.
“Now we still have to prove her guilt and all that and go through the process, but bingo! We got her back,” Tim said.
The case has taken many twists and turns. Ron has been retired for six years but he’s never forgotten.
“Every time I think about it, I just hoped and hoped that she would get back here while I’m still around to see it. Thank God that it’s going to happen,” he said.
Ron is anxious to watch the trial and see how it goes.
“We don’t have any doubt but until she’s proven guilty in the courts, nobody’s going to rest.”