By TEDDYE SNELLs
CNHI News Service
Baby Veronica, Cherokee Nation citizen and biological daughter of Dusten Brown, was transferred to her adoptive parents, Matt and Melody Capobianco, at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
The transfer followed the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling Monday afternoon removing the stay that allowed Veronica to remain in the custody of her father.
A crowd of about three dozen people gathered near the Jack Brown house on the Cherokee Nation complex grounds. The crowd and media were kept about 100 yards away from the home where Veronica has been staying. Cherokee Nation marshals parked their cruisers between the crowd and the home, and the area was cordoned off with police tape.
According to Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault, an order for the transfer of the child came from Cherokee County District Court and was executed at 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service. The transfer occurred at the Marshal Service office.
Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree visited with the crowd, who held candles as the darkness set in.
Hembree confirmed the transfer, and asked if someone in the group would care to lead a prayer for the Brown family.
“We are steady in our resolve to protect the rights of Cherokee Nation citizens,” said Hembree. “The fight is not over.”
Many in the crowd were surprised to learn the tribe did not fight harder to keep the child with her biological father, despite a court ordering the transfer.
“We are walking the Trail of Tears again,” said one Brown supporter.
Several people in the crowd were visibly shaken, and tears flowed freely.
Hembree was peppered with questions, but said he was unable to talk about particulars. A gag order was issued in the case, preventing anyone associated from talking about the details.
The Capobiancos, a non-native couple from South Carolina, and Brown have been entrenched in an ongoing custody battle for over two years. Tuesday’s Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling laid the foundation to send Veronica to South Carolina.
The ruling was handed down after both parties were involved in five days of mediation in a Tulsa courtroom, reaching no agreement.