The birth father of Baby Veronica has surrendered in the midst of a custody battle with her adoptive parents, after refusing to turn the girl over to her other parents.
Baby Veronica’s adoptive father Matt Capobianco says the situation has become a “nightmare,” as biological dad Dusten Brown is charged with custodial interference in the adoption dispute.
The Capobiancos say they worry that police could seize Baby Veronica from her biological relatives — but urge the family to send the baby back to her adoptive home. He said:
“I’d feel awful about it… I’d feel — it’s the last thing we want, but our daughter’s coming home, you know? I just hope they cooperate, you know. I beg them to cooperate.”
Nearly two years ago, Brown invoked his rights under laws relating to American Indians and custody, after the Capobiancos had raised Baby Veronica for two years.
Under the existing laws, Brown (who is part Cherokee) was awarded custody of his daughter, and the two families have been locked in a dispute ever since.
Melanie Capobianco recalls the day Brown came back for his daughter:
“We told [Baby Veronica] we loved her and we missed her and she told us I love you too. ‘I love you mommy, I love you daddy.’ And that was the last thing we ever said to her.”
Tulsa attorney Clark Brewster is representing Brown in the battle for Baby Veronica, and he believes his client will be successful in avoiding extradition on the custodial interference charge. Brewster explains:
“I suspect that’s going to be a serious challenge of whether that’s a crime in this state… That’s a very unusual statute in South Carolina. We’ll argue that it’s not an extraditable charge.”
The lawyer adds:
“The interesting thing is the custody order is not final. There’s a motion to reconsider in South Carolina.”
While Capobianco sometimes sounds willing to talk with Baby Veronica’s blood relatives, he also adamantly expects law enforcement to side with his family in the legal dispute over her custody. He says:
“I expect for her bags to be packed and for her to be ready and waiting to come home… I expect Oklahoma law enforcement to escort me on the premises where my daughter is said to be held and arrest anyone who attempts to hold her captive… The legal game is over and it’s time for our daughter to come home.”
As Baby Veronica’s father complies and Capobianco demands action, the Oklahoma National Guard — with whom Brown is contracted to serve — says they are “staying neutral” in the case.