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Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma signed an extradition order to send Dusten Brown to South Carolina to face a charge for custodial interference in the custody fight over his three-year-old daughter, Veronica. The order was signed after Brown refused Matt and Melanie Capobianco, her adoptive parents, to visit her.
“He is acting in open violation of both Oklahoma and South Carolina courts, which have granted custody of Veronica to the Capobiancos,” Fallin said. “Finally, he has cut off negotiations with the Capobiancos and shown no interest in pursuing any other course than yet another lengthy legal battle.”
The dispute over Veronica began in 2009, when Veronica’s mother first put her daughter up for adoption while she was pregnant. The capobianco’s raised Veronica until she was two-years-old. Brown then sued for custody and won, due to the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Act mandated that the girl must be raised within Cherokee Nation, in an effort to keep Native American families together. In July, however, a family court overturned the decision made by the Indian Child Welfare Act, saying it did not apply since Brown had been absent for most of her life.
Last month Brown turned himself in to the authorities after the custodial interference charge was issued out of South Carolina. Brown posted bail and is set to return to court. Clark Brewster, one of Brown’s lawyers is confident that a judge will not enforce the order. He says the judge “will have to make a determination whether the crime that’s alleged by South Carolina is in fact a crime. It’s not. I don’t expect him to be extradited.”
Veronica will be turning four later this month. She is currently staying with her grandparents and stepmother on Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah. The extradition order does not affect her placement.
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