Fundraiser held before Veronica custody battle reaches SC Supreme Court

2-year-old Veronica on New Year's Eve
2-year-old Veronica on New Year's Eve
Folly Boat painted for Veronica, Sunday
Folly Boat painted for Veronica, Sunday

BOWEN'S ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - On the drive down to Folly Beach, it's hard not to notice what's painted on the side of the Folly boat. Almost everyday the painting is different. Sunday, there was no missing it. The boat was coated bright pink with red hearts.

The message, love for a 2-year-old girl named Veronica. A fundraiser was set up to offset the legal fees of the adoptive parents of the 2-year-old girl, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, on Bowen's Island.

The Capobianco's lost custody of their adopted daughter Veronica on New Year's Eve to her biological father Dusten Brown, who is a registered member of the Cherokee Nation.

Under the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law designed to preserve Native American families, Brown was given custody of Veronica after two years of hearings.

Just days before the Capobianco's are face-to-face with Brown in Columbia at a State Supreme Court hearing they requested, the community fundraiser tried to relieve some of the pressure the couple is facing.

"These people feel like family," said Melanie Capobianco. "The whole community does."

The couple has been without Veronica for four months now.

"It's been hard and the house is lonely," said Melanie.

A family friend, Amanda Elder, coordinated the fundraiser at Bowen's Island Restaurant all the way from her home in Houston, TX. The goal was to raise money for the legal fees the couple have collected since a family court judge ruled Veronica's custody out of their favor.

"I still can't sleep," said Elder. "I think about Veronica every second of every day."

Elder will be alongside of her friends in Columbia, Tuesday. The Capobianco's can't comment on the case but say they continued to be blown away by the community's support during their tough time.

"Charleston has really been amazing," said Melanie. "We hear from people all over the country, all over the world, and we want to thank you for all the support and the kind words. Doing things like [the fundraiser] has really helped."

More than 22,000 supporters of the Capobianco family have signed a "Save Veronica" petition since the 2-year-old was given to her father.

Representatives of Dusten Brown and the Cherokee Nation declined to comment about the upcoming hearing.

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