Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig was found shot dead in his home in Newton Falls, Ohio. The doors to the home were locked and there was no sign of forced entry.
Hoerig was a highly decorated C-130 pilot with the 910th Operation Support Squadron and a father of two, at the time of his death in March 2007.
Young and Ambitious
Karl Hoerig joined the Army when he was 18 and later served as a pilot in the Air Force.
Determined to Succeed
In his 20s, Karl Hoerig was a helicopter pilot. He also trained on small jets and would go on to fly C-130 cargo planes for the bulk of his career.
An Admired Pilot
During Karl Hoerig's military career, he flew all over the world. Good friend Gary Dodge says of Hoerig, "He was actually very good pilot, but he was a better person."
In the Path of danger
Karl Hoerig flew C-130 cargo planes on nearly 200 treacherous combat missions to Iraq and Afghanistan.
A Pilot for Life
After Karl Hoerig's active duty military career, he went to serve in the Air Force Reserve and worked a commercial pilot, flying for Southwest Airlines.
An Unbreakable Bond
Some of Karl Hoerig's best friends were a group of pilots also in the Air Force Reserve.They were sometimes deployed around the world together and formed a tight bond. From left: Daniel Henry, Gary Dodge, Karl Hoerig, John Boccieri, and Chris Swegan.
Precious Family Time
Karl Hoerig and his first wife, Rhonda, had two children together, Eva and Brent. Eva Snowden has fond memories of her dad from her childhood. Hoerig was often deployed elsewhere, but Snowden says she and her brother would value the time their dad was home in Ohio all the more.
Though her parents divorced while she was young, Eva Snowden says their family always remained close. "Even though we weren't all living together, we were still all together, you know?" she says.
In the months before her father's death, Eva found out she was pregnant, and says Karl was excited to be a grandfather.
A New Love
In 2005, Karl Hoerig met a Brazilian accountant and English teacher, Claudia Sobral, who was living in New York City at the time. They fell in love quickly and were married in Las Vegas that June. Claudia moved to Newton Falls, Ohio, to be with Karl.
A Troubled Relationship
Karl's younger brother, Paul Hoerig, says that Karl and Claudia's relationship seemed fine in the beginning, but became rocky over time. By early 2007, Karl began to talk about leaving Claudia. "He could see that she was basically dragging him down," says Paul.
Claudia's behavior, said Karl's family and friends, was becoming increasingly erratic.
Shot at Close Range
On March 15, 2007, after not showing up for duty with the Air Force Reserve, Karl Hoerig's body was found at the bottom of these stairs in the home that he shared wit Claudia. It was believed that he had been shot a few days before -- once in the head and twice in the back.
Authorities immediately suspected Claudia Hoerig, but she was nowhere to be found.
Investigators soon discovered that Claudia Hoerig had flown to her native country of Brazil three days before Karl's body was found – right around the presumed time of his death. Karl's friends and family say that solidified their suspicions. "I knew it was her," says Paul Hoerig. "She told us a story about how Brazil… that basically they just don't extradite." A month after Karl's death, Claudia was charged with aggravated murder and a warrant was issued for her arrest in Trumbull County, Ohio.
A Brother's Journey
It's been over 10 years since Claudia Sobral Hoerig flew to Brazil, and 10 years of Paul Hoerig pushing for justice in his brother Karl's death.
Due to laws restricting the extradition of Brazilian-born citizens, Claudia's fight against being sent back to the United States became a complicated, landmark legal case in Brazil. But by late 2017, the tides had shifted. Paul is now relieved that he will see Claudia in front of a Trumbull County, Ohio, jury soon. "We'll be ready for the trial when it gets here," he says.