TULSA — The fight for Veronica is over.
“Veronica is only 4 years old and has lived almost her entire life in front of the cameras,” Dusten Brown said, breaking down in tears as he read a prepared statement. “I love her too much to have her in the spotlight like this.”
With his wife and attorney by his side, Brown and Cherokee Nation assistant attorney general Chrissi Nimmo announced Thursday morning that they will not pursue any appeals or further litigation in the protracted custody battle for Brown’s 4-year-old daughter.
Last month, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a non-Native South Carolina couple that had been attempting to adopt the girl since birth, assumed physical custody of Veronica after the Oklahoma Supreme Court dissolved an emergency stay allowing her to remain with her biological family while the appeals process played out.
“One day, you’ll read about all of this,” Brown said, addressing his daughter. “I hope you never, ever forget that I love you. My home is always your home.”
Brown still faces contempt of court and custodial interference complaints in South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley canceled the extradition warrant out for Brown, but the Nowata resident could still potentially be arrested if he ever visits the Palmetto State.
At Thursday’s press conference, an emotional Nimmo called upon the Capobiancos to help end the outstanding litigation.
“Show some mercy and drop the contempt charges,” she said. “It is within your control. Do whatever is within your power to get the criminal charges dismissed. We’re asking you to do the right thing.”
In addition to the end of the Cherokee Nation and Brown appeals, a federal lawsuit filed in South Carolina on Veronica’s behalf by the Native American Rights Fund, National Congress of American Indians and other national Native American organizations has been dropped. Officials with those groups declined to comment.
Prior to assuming custody of Veronica, the Capobiancos had publicly promised to allow Brown to be a part of his daughter’s life, although they would not elaborate on what that role would be.
On Thursday, Nimmo confirmed there had been communication between the father and daughter since she left Tahlequah 17 days ago, but out of respect for privacy for both sides, would not provide details on the frequency or method used.
“I hope you honor that commitment,” Nimmo said, directly addressing the Capobiancos. “You have witnessed the love she has for her father. It is important that you nurture and honor that bond.”
TULSA — The fight for Veronica is over.
- Local News
Twins again for 018
Cherokee County’s twinning cow has done it again.
The cow, known as 018, has become a bit of a local celebrity as a frequent bearer of twins, a rare happening in the bovine world.
“Her last two births have been singles,” said Chester Bailey, a farmer and owner of 018. “But over her lifespan - she is about 12 years old - she has given birth to eight sets of twins.”
A cow with a propensity for twinning possesses an inherited trait. Bailey said he has not yet examined the calves closely to determine their genders.
KPS could build new band room
Some hurdles still remain to be jumped, but Keys Public Schools could have a new room for the band program as early as the start of the 2014-’15 academic year.
If constructed, the room would also serve as a shelter during tornados or other natural disasters.
“We’re in discussions with the architect and the funding needs to be worked out,” said Billie Jordan, KPS superintendent. “We also need to present our plan to the school board and receive approval. Our goal is to have it ready by the start of the school year, but we will be cutting it close.”
Shooter of hunter still unidentified
Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators continue to seek leads in the shooting of a Coweta hunter last Friday near Welling.
Undersheriff Jason Chennault on Wednesday said investigators had received no new leads after publicly asking for information that would help identify who shot 27-year-old John Mason on Nov. 29.
Impending bad weather spurs caution warning from TPWA, LREC
With wintry weather expected to move in to Cherokee County on Thursday, the Tahlequah Public Works Authority and Lake Region Electric Cooperative are preparing for reports of outages.
To report outages, call the TPWA at (918) 456-2564 or at the after-hours emergency line at (918) 456-3591. The LREC can be reached at (918) 772-2526 or (800) 364-5732.
Season of sparkle
Continuing a tradition dating back 20 years, officials for the city of Tahlequah and Northeastern State University jointly flipped the switch Tuesday for Lights On at Seminary Hall.
Held at dusk in front of the venerable campus building, Lights On was hosted by Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols, and Penny Turner, wife of NSU President Steve Turner.
Rooming house closes
Operators of The Stepping Stone Rooming House closed the facility doors Tuesday evening, three days ahead of a city-imposed deadline requiring residents to vacate the property if the building wasn’t brought up to code.
Emma Presley and Robert Clark have run the day-to-day operations of the facility for about six years. Now, the two are gathering their own belongings and cleaning up the building so they can be out by Friday.
“I’m ready to move on,” Clark said Tuesday afternoon.
Local authors are gaining popularity
As self-publishing gains popularity, more and more local residents have added the title “published author” to their resumes.
Northeastern State University graduate and Tahlequah resident Dustin Mitchell recently released her children’s book, “Alivia’s Angels,” and has met with success during book signings at NSU, the Cherokee County Community Building and Stage.
RAD courses available by arrangement
When a woman is being physically threatened, a bit of knowledge can provide the margin she needs to defend herself and escape danger.
Such is the reasoning behind the Rape Aggression Defense program, which is offered locally by law enforcement officers and deputy marshals.
“Fortunately for our community, we have several RAD instructors prepared to teach the classes,” said James Flores, investigator for the Northeastern State University Police. “There are four instructors at the NSU Police Department, five at the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, and one at the Tahlequah Police Department. We frequently work together when we teach courses.”
Accused child killer dies of cancer
A man accused of killing a 3-year-old child in Tahlequah last month died Tuesday morning, according to officials at the Cherokee County Detention Center.
Buford Ellison had been hospitalized in Tahlequah since early last week. Administrators at CCDC worked with District 27 prosecutors to have Ellison moved from the jail to the hospital when Ellison’s health conditions began to deteriorate.
According to police, Ellison was suffering from the late stages of cancer.
He and his common-law wife, Jeri Danyce Sanders, were arrested last month at the Stepping Stone Rooming House and accused of murder in the death of Sanders’ child, Dakota. Detectives claim a baby sitter realized Dakota had died several hours after Sanders left the boy’s “lifeless body” in her room.
City council extends Dumpster regulation compliance date
Tahlequah city councilors have given local businesses an extra year to comply with new Dumpster regulations.
Local businessman Bryce Felts has been asking the council to exclude businesses that existed as of June 3, 2013, from following the ordinance. He insisted the new regulations would cost businesses and the city too much money and wouldn’t solve the problem of containing and hiding trash.
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