Dusten Brown, father of “Baby Veronica,” as the media has dubbed her, and over whom there is an adoption dispute, turned himself to the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department in Oklahoma on Monday morning. He also declined to be extradited without a warrant from the Governor of Oklahoma, who has refused to sign the order of rendition the Governor of South Carolina has sent.
Brown had been charged with custodial interference for failing to attend a meeting mandated by a South Carolina family court, meant to start the process of returning Veronica to her adoptive parents, and to take place on August 4. Brown presented himself to the sheriff’s office accompanied by his attorney, and was released on $10,000 bond. He has scheduled a hearing for September 12.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said she refused to issue a warrant for the extradition of “Baby Veronica’s” father until that date.
Brown was turned down when he proposed to Veronica’s mother, and signed a document relinquishing custody and allowing Veronica to be adopted, on the stipulation that he did not have to pay any child support after the baby’s birth. Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a couple from South Carolina, adopted the girl in 2009, and took care of her for two years.
Brown was not informed of the adoption by the baby’s mother until several months after the fact, and when he became aware of it he fought to get custody of the girl. Brown is Cherokee, although the child’s mother is not, and won custody of Veronica in 2011 when the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in his favor, citing the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, meant to keep Native American children with their families or tribes.
The Federal Supreme Court reversed that decision because Brown did not have custody at the time of the adoption, and initially had no contact with the child. That court also refused to intervene in July when the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Capobiancos.
Veronica is currently staying with her paternal grandparents, and Robin Brown, Dusten’s wife. The three were appointed temporary guardians of the girl while her father was in Iowa training with the Oklahoma National Guard.
The Capobiancos have termed Dusten Brown’s actions a kidnapping. Matt Capobianco, in a press conference on Monday beseeched Federal authorities to “send someone to the location our daughter is being held and work with us to bring her home. No more delays and no more excuses.” He added that they are ready to take matters onto their own hands.
In the wake of those declarations, the Capobiancos have scheduled a press conference this morning about the matter. They have said that they do not want to extradite Brown to South Carolina, nor have the girl forcibly removed from him, and they hope he will cooperate and avoid those courses of action.
With the extradition issue out of the way, the Capobianco’s may have the upper hand, and despite the refusal of Governor Mallin to sign the warrant, “Baby Veronica’s” biological father is fast running out of options.
By Milton Ruiz