Oklahoma Toddler's Future In Hands Of South Carolina Court
CHARLESTON, South Carolina - A ruling could come as early as this week from the South Carolina Supreme Court over a custody battle involving a now 3-year-old Cherokee Nation girl.
A Charleston, South Carolina couple, Matt and Melainie Capobianco, asked the high court to return their adoptive daughter to them. The court will decide if a lower court judge was correct when he ordered the girl to be sent to her biological father.
Veronica was taken from her adoptive parents on December 31, 2011 when a South Carolina family court judge ruled the Indian Child Welfare Act trumped their adoption.
Matt and Melanie Capobianco say they adopted Veronica as a newborn. But her father, a member of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, fought for custody and won through the Indian Child Welfare Act which is designed to keep Native American families together.
Dusten Brown of Bartlesville originally signed away his parental rights as he was deploying with the U.S. Army, but days later started fighting to get Veronica back.
The South Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides on April 17, 2012. That hearing was closed to the public.
A web site, www.saveveronica.org, has been set up to help in bringing Veronica from Oklahoma back to South Carolina.
Meanwhile, friends and supporters of the Capobianco's have gathered more than 22,000 signatures on a petition to Congress asking for changes to the Indian Child Welfare Act.