Justin Juozapavicius
October 10, 2013

Cherokee Nation, Brown drop fight for Veronica

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The biological father of a Cherokee girl adopted by a South Carolina couple has dropped his custody claims and is working with the couple on ways to be involved in the 4-year-old’s life, a Cherokee Nation assistant attorney general said Thursday.

Dusten Brown and the Cherokee Nation said at a news conference that all proceedings regarding Veronica within the Oklahoma and Cherokee court systems had been dropped. In return, they asked that Matt and Melanie Capobianco of Charleston, S.C., drop a complaint against Brown of custodial interference.

The Capobiancos took custody of Veronica on Sept. 23.

She has been the subject of court battles since she was born to a non-Cherokee mother, who put the girl up for adoption. The Capobiancos had been lined up to receive custody since 2009.

Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation, pressed claims under the Indian Child Welfare Act and won custody when the girl was 27 months old. The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed in 1978 with the intent of reducing the high rates of Native American children being adopted by non-Native American families.

But in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the act didn’t apply because Brown had been absent from Veronica’s life. Oklahoma’s Supreme Court last month dissolved an order keeping her in the state.

Brown said Thursday that it was time for Veronica to live outside the spotlight.

Cherokee Nation assistant attorney general Chrissi Nimmo said Brown and the Capobiancos were discussing how he could still be in her life. She did not offer details on any arrangement, citing the girl’s privacy rights, and did not take questions.

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