By Ed Runyan
U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan and Bill Johnson have introduced two bills in the House of Representatives in an effort to bring former Newton Falls woman Claudia Hoerig back to Trumbull County to face prosecution in the 2007 murder of her husband.
Hoerig has been indicted in Trumbull County in the death of U.S. Air Force Maj. Karl Hoerig. Trumbull County officials believe she fled to her native Brazil shortly after purportedly shooting her husband in their Newton Falls home.
Brazil has refused to extradite her back to the United States to stand trial despite efforts in the past by Ryan and Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins.
The bills are the same ones Ryan, of Niles, D-13th, introduced in June 2011. The bills didn’t reach the floor for a vote.
They would end the issuance of visas by the U.S. to Brazilian citizens, preventing them from coming here “since the U.S. has no recourse to extradite those who would flee back to Brazil after committing crimes,” Johnson said in a press release.
The other bill would end the approximately $14 million in foreign aid to Brazil.
On Thursday from Washington, Ryan and Johnson, of Marietta, R-6th, had a conference call on the legislation, with Ryan saying it sometimes takes multiple efforts on the same bill to get the attention of members of Congress.
Additionally, Ryan said he believes there’s a better chance of success with his Republican colleague working with him.
“To have Congressman Johnson now on the Republican side will be very, very helpful,” Ryan said.
Another reason to propose the legislation again, Ryan said, is to make Brazil understand that it cannot “hold the ball and wait us out.”
“We are not going away until Claudia Hoerig’s butt is back in Trumbull County and in the courtroom,” Ryan said.
“I think we’re going to see some movement in the coming days,” Johnson said.
“There is no reason why Brazil should continue receiving American foreign- aid dollars if it refuses to show basic respect to a friend and ally,” he said. “Since Brazil has chosen not to extradite Maj. Hoerig’s wife to the United States to stand trial, this legislation would stop foreign aid to Brazil “until the Brazilian government has a change of heart.”