Mediation agreement filed in Veronica custody battle in OK

Veronica (Source: KOTV)
Veronica (Source: KOTV)
Protesters outside the courthouse. (Source: KOTV)
Protesters outside the courthouse. (Source: KOTV)
The Capobiancos leave with smiles on their faces. (Source: KOTV)
The Capobiancos leave with smiles on their faces. (Source: KOTV)

TULSA, OK (WCSC/KOTV/AP) - Both sides fighting for custody of Veronica have filed a mediation agreement in an effort to determine the best way to raise the child following two hearings in Oklahoma on Friday.

Dusten Brown of Oklahoma and James Island couple Matt and Melanie Capobianco were in tribal court Thursday afternoon following a state court hearing.

A gag order prevented lawyers from talking about what happened in Friday's first hearing.

Cherokee County Court Clerk Shelly Kissinger says paperwork was filed in state court noting that a mediation agreement has been filed.

The Capobiancos filed a motion in Cherokee County District Court to have Veronica brought to the courthouse in Tahlequah Friday. Both the Capobiancos and Dusten Brown and his wife arrived at the courthouse in Tahlequah before 9 a.m. Friday. Veronica was not with them.

It was the first time the two couples had been in the same room since the Supreme Court ruling in April.

The hearing ended shortly after noon, but there is no information on the results. The Cherokee County Court Clerk said the judge issued a gag order preventing the parties from talking. Brown's attorney, Clark Brewster, also said he could not discuss the hearing results.

The hearing was for a motion for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Matt and Melanie Capobianco Thursday afternoon.

The Capobiancos' spokesperson Jessica Munday addressed the scheduling of the court hearing in a statement released Friday, "Late yesterday afternoon while visitation discussions were still occurring, the Capobiancos received notice from Brown's attorneys that a tribal court hearing was scheduled for 11 a.m. this morning to 'determine guardianship' over Veronica. The Capobiancos and Veronica's birth mother were intentionally excluded from the hearing."

"After 19 long months of trying this case in local family courts, state courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown has determined yet again his intent to continue to drag this unfortunate situation out further. Because of his actions, the Capobiancos issued a special federal request in Cherokee County, where Brown has been hiding out with Veronica."

"Brown's insistence on creating more roadblocks forced them to ask an Oklahoma judge to demand that Brown turn over their daughter. Veronica does not need nor deserve any more court hearings. Veronica deserves for this to be over!"

"This situation remains heart-wrenching and the Capobiancos and their family do not rejoice in this matter. Their hearts go out to the Brown family. They, more than anyone else, understand the pain and hurt created by these circumstances. The best thing for both families, and more importantly for Veronica, is the critical step toward closure."

Thursday night, KOTV, an Oklahoma-based CBS news station, reported the two sides were working to arrange a meeting which would include Veronica.

South Carolina authorities have charged Brown with custodial interference in the case. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said the couple has a right to meet with Veronica and a right to seek a compromise with Brown.

The governor says if Brown is unwilling to cooperate, she can send him to South Carolina to face the charge.

The Capobiancos had the child until 19 months ago, when Brown pressed claims under the Indian Child Welfare Act, and was awarded custody by Charleston County Family Court.

The South Carolina Supreme Court later upheld the decision, but this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court said the act did not apply and, subsequently, SC Supreme Court granted the Capobiancos custody.

Copyright 2013 WCSC.  All rights reserved.  KOTV and The Associated Press contributed to this report.