Father of Cherokee tot in custody fight surrenders
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CREATED Sep. 4, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep. 5, 2013
SALLISAW, Okla. (AP) - The father of a Cherokee girl at the center of a custody dispute has surrendered to Oklahoma authorities amid claims he's interfering with parental rights granted to a South Carolina couple.
A secretary for Sequoyah County Judge Jeff Payton said Dusten Brown surrendered Thursday. Gov. Mary Fallin signed an extradition warrant Wednesday, saying Brown wasn't negotiating in good faith with a Charleston, S.C., couple granted custody of the girl in July.
A South Carolina judge says Matt and Melanie Capobianco can adopt 3-year-old Veronica, who remains with Brown's family in the Cherokee Nation. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court said Brown couldn't use the Indian Child Welfare Act to press his custody fight.
Courts in Oklahoma, South Carolina and the Cherokee Nation have each held hearings on the girl's future.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin has signed the extradition order for Dusten Brown, the biological father of “Baby Veronica.”
Brown is contesting Veronica’s adoption to Matt and Melanie Capobianco of Charleston, South Carolina. His arguments have now been rejected by the United States Supreme Court as well as courts in South Carolina and Oklahoma.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley requested Brown’s extradition from Oklahoma to South Carolina on August 13. Brown, who has refused to release Veronica to her adopted parents, faces charges of custodial interference in South Carolina.
Brown’s extradition does not affect the current placement of Baby Veronica.
“My goal in the Baby Veronica case has been to encourage both Mr. Brown and the Capobianco family to reach a quick settlement and come to an agreement that protects Veronica’s best interests,” Fallin said. “I said previously that I was willing to delay Mr. Brown’s extradition to South Carolina as long as all parties were working together in good faith to pursue such a settlement. I also outlined parameters for what I believe to be acting in ‘good faith:’ both Mr. Brown and the Capobianco family should be able to see Veronica; both parties should continue meeting to pursue a resolution outside of court; and both parties must obey the courts and the rule of law.
“Unfortunately, it has become clear that Dusten Brown is not acting in good faith. He has disobeyed an Oklahoma court order to allow the Capobianco’s to visit their adopted daughter and continues to deny visitation. He is acting in open violation of both Oklahoma and South Carolina courts, which have granted custody of Veronica to the Capobianco’s. Finally, he has cut off negotiations with the Capobianco’s and shown no interest in pursuing any other course than yet another lengthy legal battle.
“As governor, I am committed to upholding the rule of law. As a mother, I believe it is in the best interests of Veronica to help end this controversy and find her a permanent home. For both of these reasons, I have signed the extradition order to send Mr. Brown to South Carolina.”