Sheriff: Birth father of Veronica fails to turn self in to authorities

Picture taken on July 22, 2013 of Veronica and her biological father, Dusten Brown, at Tulsa International Airport.
Picture taken on July 22, 2013 of Veronica and her biological father, Dusten Brown, at Tulsa International Airport.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County Sheriff's Office says Dusten Brown of Nowata, Oklahoma, the biological father of the little girl Veronica, has not turned himself into authorities Sunday after detectives issued an arrest warrant Saturday.

Deputies have issued the warrant for Custodial Interference which resulted in Brown's failure to transfer custody of baby Veronica as ordered by the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Family Court issues on July 31, 2013 and August 10, 2013.

Deputies are working with authorities in Iowa and Oklahoma to locate and arrest Brown. According to the sheriff's office, officials in Iowa where Brown is on military duty are aware of the warrant and Brown is expected to turn himself into military authorities on Sunday when he returns for duty.

Lori McGill, the attorney for Veronica's birth mother, told Live 5 News Veronica is now the victim of a felony kidnapping.

"The Browns have held her unlawfully for almost a week," said McGill in an email. "I assume law enforcement will take appropriate measures to quickly return her to her parents in South Carolina."

According to a statement released by Amanda Clinton with Cherokee Nation, the arrest warrant is "morally reprehensible and legally questionable."

"All parties involved were well aware of Dusten Brown's legal obligation to complete National Guard duty," the statement reads. "The attorneys, the courts and the adoptive couple in this case were keenly aware of Dusten's commitment, but clearly chose to ignore it."

"Not only is the adoptive couple asking this child be ripped from her father while he is serving our country, they are also endangering his military career in the process. This is outrageous conduct," said Clinton in the statement."

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.

The attorneys for Matt and Melanie Copobianco and Veronica's birth mother released this statement concerning the arrest warrant for Brown.

"The current state of affairs is not complicated.  It is unacceptable.  We now have a situation where Cherokee Nation officials appear to be actively assisting an ongoing felony, because they disagree with the final outcome of litigation in which they have participated in South Carolina and the United States Supreme Court over the last three years.  Based on the defiant statements and conduct of Brown and the Cherokee Nation, it seems the lesson here is that Matt and Melanie Capobianco should have refused to turn Veronica over 19 months ago, and denounced it as outrageous that they were being forced to comply with a court order when they still had the entire appeals process before them.  They did not do that, because they understood that they would be fugitives from justice if they resorted to ignoring the rule of law.  The only thing that the contemplated "Oklahoma proceedings" will determine is whether Mr. Brown and those assisting him are also criminals under Oklahoma law, rather than just under South Carolina law.  Perhaps he could just move to Arkansas, or Kansas, and then to North Dakota, then Minnesota – and continue to hold this child from her only legal parents – and force those parents to fight in court for her return in each state until they have domesticated the order in all 49 other states.  And then maybe he should get more process in Germany, or Switzerland.  To say this out loud is to realize how outrageous and offensive it is.  The United States Supreme Court denied a stay after Brown and the Cherokee Nation begged them to intervene, recognizing that if the US Supreme Court refused to step in, they would be required to return Veronica to her parents last week in South Carolina.  The US Supreme Court rejected that request, and these folks are acting as if the Court granted it, and have vowed never to comply voluntarily with final court orders.  In the circumstances, Mr. Brown's arrest is not surprising; it is absolutely necessary to ensure that the rule of law is followed and a little girl is returned to her parents.  Those who have physical control of the child are also actively assisting a felony -- including Robin Brown --who has declared that she will refuse to reveal Veronica's whereabouts to law enforcement and continues to vow not to comply with the law."

Authorities say once Brown is in custody the extradition process to bring him to Charleston will begin.

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