Baby Veronica Case: Biological Father Bonds Out of Sequoyah Co. Jail
The biological father of "Baby Veronica" turned himself over Monday morning to the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department.
Dusten Brown was due in Tahlequah for a guardianship hearing that ended just after 10 a.m in a tribal courtroom. Veronica's appointed attorney Angel Smith called the meeting at the Cherokee Courthouse. Brown had reportedly been in Iowa for drill duty with the Oklahoma National Guard and was directed to report back for the hearing.
On Monday, KTUL received word that Brown turn himself in to the Sequoyah County Jail. Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart said Dusten Brown turned himself in about 10 a.m. Monday. He is charged with "custodial interference," after failing to appear at a meeting with the Capobiancos, Veronica's adoptive parents.
Lockhart said Brown appeared before a judge but refused extradition without a governor's warrant. Brown paid the $10,000 fugitive bond and has another court hearing in 30 days.
Monday afternoon, KTUL confirmed that Tulsa attorney Clark Brewster will be representing Brown. The two are meeting Tuesday morning to decide whether or not to fight the extradition charge against Brown at this time. He said Veronica is currently in the custody of Brown's parents.
The governor of South Carolina has signed a warrant for Brown's extradition to the state.
More than a dozen supporters of Brown stood outside the Cherokee Courthouse Monday with signs.
"These people [Capobiancos] are fighting for a child that really isn't theirs," said Broken Arrow resident Linda Kats. She has a grandson of Cherokee descent who was also given up for adoption. She said the adoption was not explained well enough to his birth family.
Other supporters explained to Channel 8 that the Indian Child Welfare Act is meant to help keep native children in native areas.
Last week, an arrest warrant was issued for Brown for failure to bring Veronica to a meeting with her adoptive parents in South Carolina. Matt and Melanie Capobianco were due for a court-ordered visitation with Veronica earlier this month.
Amanda Clinton, a spokeswoman for the tribe, released a statement over the weekend calling the arrest warrant "morally reprehensible" and "legally questionable." Clinton stated that all parties involved knew that Brown was out of the state for training.
"Not only is the adoptive couple asking this child be ripped from her father while he is serving his country, they are also endangering his military career in the process," Clinton said, "This is outrageous conduct."
The warrant was issued following the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling on Aug. 2 against a petition set forth by Brown and the Cherokee Nation.
Chrissi Nimmo, assistant attorney general for the Cherokee Nation, said in a statement that "the original decision of the United States Supreme Court did not mandate the removal of Veronica from her father, family and tribe. However, instead of clarifying their original decision, the United States Supreme Court has washed their hands of this case."
A South Carolina court has finalized the adoption of Veronica by a couple in that state. She has been in Oklahoma since 2011, when courts said federal law favored her being raised by her Brown because of his Cherokee heritage.
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