The Norman Transcript

August 15, 2013

South Carolina couple seeks deal in custody case

Associated Press
The Associated Press

TULSA — A South Carolina couple that wants to adopt a young Cherokee girl took their fight to Oklahoma on Wednesday, hoping to visit the child who previously lived with them for 27 months and seeking a compromise with her biological family that would return Veronica to their home.

Matt and Melanie Capobianco believe they have done everything necessary to regain custody of the girl, who is about to turn 4. The U.S. Supreme Court said in June that provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which would favor the girl’s father, didn’t apply in the case, and a South Carolina court awarded the couple custody on July 31.

The ongoing dispute has raised questions about jurisdictions, tribal sovereignty and the federal law meant to help keep Native American tribes together.

“We made the trip to Oklahoma to get our daughter,” Matt Capobianco said at a news conference in downtown Tulsa on Wednesday. “Veronica will be coming home, but if there is going to be some thoughtful solution that continues to involve all who love her, then this is the time.”

The girl, under a Cherokee Nation court order, has been with the family of Dusten Brown, her biological father. The tribe’s chief urged patience.