Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA Four year old Veronica Brown was transferred from her biological father, Dusten Brown, to the non-Native South Carolina couple last evening after the stay by the Oklahoma Supreme Court was lifted.
The Cherokee Nation released the following statement later in the night:
Tonight around 7:30pm central time, Veronica Brown was peacefully and voluntarily transferred to her adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco. The transfer was completed at the will of Dusten Brown, after the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted the stay of transfer of custody for four year old Veronica.
The transfer, although emotional for the Brown family, was peaceful and dignified. It was not ordered or supervised by law enforcement, rather Dusten Brown willfully cooperated with today’s order.
Dusten and his wife Robin packed two bags for Veronica, one with clothing and one with toys. Dusten told Veronica how much he and the rest of the family love her, and that he would see her again. Following their emotional goodbyes, Veronica was transported from her home by a Cherokee Nation attorney, to a location approximately a quarter mile away where the Capobiancos were waiting.
She was strapped into a car seat by that attorney, told again how much her father loved her and left with the Capobiancos.
Dusten Brown was just as brave today, as he was when he fought for our country in Iraq. Although this is not something any parent should ever have to do, we could not be more proud of the dignity and courage with which he carried himself.
We are deeply, deeply saddened by the events of today, but we will not lose hope. Veronica Brown will always be a Cherokee citizen, and although she may have left the Cherokee Nation, she will never leave our hearts.
We hope the Capobiancos honor their word that Dusten will be allowed to remain an important part of Veronica's life. We also look forward to her visiting the Cherokee Nation for many years to come, for she is always welcome. Veronica is a very special child who touched the hearts of many, and she will be sorely missed.
Todd Hembree, Cherokee Nation Attorney General
posted September 24, 2013 6:00 am edt