Authorities consulting on next steps in Veronica transfer order

Cherokee Nation 'disgusted' over judge's actions in Veronica case
Published: Aug. 6, 2013 at 3:55 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2013 at 5:20 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The United States Attorney's Office is consulting with state and federal law enforcement colleagues to determine the steps to be taken following a court-ordered transfer of 3-year-old Veronica Brown to her adoptive parents, a James Island couple.

United States Attorney's spokesperson Beth Drake said Wednesday they were working to determine "the most appropriate next steps" to remove Veronica from her biological father, Dusten Brown, and return her to Matt and Melanie Capobianco on James Island.

Charleston County Family Court Judge Daniel Martin suspended the transition plan put into place last week to slowly re-integrate Veronica back to James Island after Brown failed to show for a scheduled visit on Sunday.

The Capobiancos and an adoption investigator were scheduled to meet with Veronica and Brown for four hours on Sunday at an undisclosed location.

No one showed up representing Brown and Veronica, according to the judge. Therefore, Brown violated the court order.

The court has urged the Charleston County Solicitor's Office and the United States Attorney's Office "to promptly take any lawful action to locate [Veronica] and return her to the Capobiancos."

The court also sent paperwork to Brown's commanding officer in the National Guard. Lieutenant Colonel Max Moss responded to queries on the subject later Tuesday, "The Oklahoma National Guard will not interject at this time in the legal matters of Baby Veronica and her natural father, Oklahoma Army National Guard Specialist Dusten Brown, who is attending military training in another state until Aug. 21."

The Cherokee Nation voiced their disgust with the order on Tuesday.

Cherokee Nation Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo stated, "It is disgusting to insinuate criminal misconduct or wrongdoing on Dusten's behalf. He is in another state for mandatory National Guard training, which all parties and the court have known for at least two weeks. It is physically and legally impossible for Dusten to comply with the current order. This is another ploy to paint Dusten as the 'bad guy.' It is especially appalling while he is serving his country."

Brown's family said Tuesday they plan to move the custody fight for Veronica to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

According to Lori McGill, a Washington, DC-based attorney representing Christy Maldonado, Veronica's biological mother, says the Cherokee Nation and Brown are entitled to object to the "enforcement" in Oklahama within 20 days, but they would have to show no notice of the South Carolina proceedings.

McGill also reaffirmed that in South Carolina, Brown now has no parental rights, so he and anyone helping him are risking criminal indictment for violation of state and federal kidnapping laws."

McGill said South Carolina and federal officials should "act immediately to put a stop to this before it escalates further."

"We cannot have a situation where there are no consequences for withholding a child in violation of the law," she said.

The Capobiancos raised Veronica for two years before the SC Supreme Court ordered them to turn her over to Brown in January of 2011, citing the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the law does not apply to this case. The SC Supreme Court then reconvened and ruled Veronica would be returned to the Capobiancos.

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