The Norman Transcript

August 17, 2013

Mediation papers filed in custody court battle

By Justin Juozapavicius
The Associated Press

TAHLEQUAH — Two families seeking custody of a 3-year-old girl filed a mediation agreement Friday while attending hearings in Oklahoma and tribal courts to determine the best course forward for the child.

Supporters of Dusten Brown cheered as he and his wife entered a Cherokee Nation courthouse Friday afternoon to argue his daughter Veronica shouldn’t be adopted by the South Carolina couple who raised her until she was 2.

And the couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, was jeered as they attempted to enforce a South Carolina court order that finalized their adoption.

The U.S. Supreme Court said in June that Brown had no valid claim to the girl under the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Both couples attended a hearing first in state court in Cherokee County regarding visitation, and then in tribal court regarding guardianship. But after all the proceedings, the girl remained with Brown and his family, where she’s been since 2011.