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Brazilian fugitive charged with murder of American husband

Brazilian fugitive faces justice
Brazilian fugitive charged with murder of American husband 03:12

A Brazilian fugitive accused of murdering her husband is back on U.S. soil to face justice, thanks in part to "48 Hours."  A weary and, at times, teary Claudia Hoerig was arraigned on Friday, charged with the aggravated murder of her husband, decorated Air Force pilot Maj. Karl Hoerig. 

Now 53, Claudia looks nothing like the woman who fled the country in March 2007, three days before police found her husband shot to death, reports "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty. 

"My oldest brother called and told me," said Paul Hoerig, Karl's brother. "As soon as he said Karl's dead, I already knew who did it. I knew it was her."

Karl had been married for less than two years to Claudia, a Brazilian native. The marriage had fallen apart and Karl was threatening divorce. He was shot with a .357 revolver, and an investigation showed that just days earlier, his wife had bought one.  

Investigators believe that after shooting her husband, Claudia flew to Brazil -- a country that refuses to extradite native-born citizens. But American officials argued Claudia gave up her Brazilian citizenship when she signed an oath to become an American citizen years before her marriage to Karl.

"She's the one that left. She's the one that should come back," Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins has said.

Last fall, Paul Hoerig traveled with "48 Hours" to Brazil to push for Claudia's extradition.

"It makes me mad to know that she was living such a comfortable life, and you know, my brother's dead," Paul said.

Paul never expected what would happen just three months later.

"The phone rang and it was Dennis Watkins on the other end and he said … 'She's back, we got her,'" Paul said.

Claudia Hoerig, who pleaded not guilty, is expected to go on trial within the next year. She is being held on a $10 million bond. Officials say Paul Hoerig's trip to Brazil with "48 Hours" made a real difference in the case.

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