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Baby Veronica's birth father arrested

Posted By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   Aug. 13, 2013 at 9:16 AM   |   Comments

Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The biological father of "Baby Veronica," a one percent Cherokee girl who was adopted by non-Cherokee parents, was arrested Monday after he failed to return the girl to her adoptive parents.

Baby Veronica was legally adopted by Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a white couple from South Carolina, in September 2009. When the girl's birth father, Cherokee Nation member Dusten Brown learned about the adoption, he asserted custody rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act. And thus began a lengthy legal battle over Veronica that was supposed to end lin June when South Carolina's Supreme Court ruled that the girl be handed back to her adoptive parents.

After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene, the Charleston couple was given the ultimate go-ahead to regain custody of Veronica.

Following the ruling, Veronica was supposed to be handed back to the Capobiancos last week, but Brown never showed up with the girl.

A family court judge in South Carolina then ruled that Veronica was "unlawfully withheld from her lawful parents" and that Brown needed to return her immediately. On Friday, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for Brown's arrest for interfering with custody.

Three days later Brown was arrested in his home state of Oklahoma where he turned himself in. He then posted a $10,000 bond and left, according to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

It is not clear where Veronica is at the time.

Her adoptive mother, Melanie Capobianco, told reporters that Veronica is being "illegally held against the wishes of her parents and the courts."

"We pray that those who are holding Veronica will do the right thing and send Veronica home to us, please," she pleaded.

Charleston County authorities said they would keep in touch with Oklahoma officials about extraditing Brown "as well as pursuing all available options in locating Baby Veronica."

Brown told CNN over the weekend he would be willing to go to jail for his daughter.

"I'm going to fight till I have no fight left in me and till they say you can't fight no more," Brown said. "This is my daughter. It's not a yo-yo that I can just say, hey, I borrowed it for two years and here's it back."

Brown has said that the Indian Child Welfare Act allows him to have custody over Veronica. The Supreme Court, however, claimed he could not rely on the act because he had no legal or physical custody of the girl at the time of the adoption, a process that was started by Baby Veronica's non-Indian mother after Brown signed a document allowing her to do so in exchange for not paying child support.

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