Tahlequah Daily Press

October 11, 2013

CN, Brown battle for ‘Baby Veronica’ is officially over

Special Writer

TULSA — 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.”