Adoption of Cherokee girl heads to Supreme Court
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The father of a Cherokee Indian girl at the center of an adoption dispute that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court faces arrest because he has not turned over his 3-year-old daughter to the South Carolina adoptive parents as ordered by a family court this week.
Dusten Brown faces a charge of custodial interference, according to a statement from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office on Saturday.
Cherokee Nation spokeswoman Amanda Clinton called the action “morally reprehensible” and “legally questionable.”
Brown, who is Cherokee, is training with the National Guard in Iowa. The sheriff's office said he is expected to turn himself in to military authorities on Sunday when he returns for duty. The statement said extradition proceedings will begin when he is taken into custody.
“Not only is the adoptive couple asking this child be ripped from her father while he is serving our country, they are also endangering his military career in the process,” Clinton said.
Matt and Melanie Capobianco have been trying to adopt 3-year-old Veronica since her birth in 2009 and raised the girl for two years. She has been living with her biological father, Brown, in Oklahoma since 2011, when South Carolina's Supreme Court ruled that federal law governing the placement of American Indian children favored him as her custodian.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that South Carolina courts should decide who gets to adopt Veronica. South Carolina courts had originally said the federal Indian Child Welfare Act favored her living with her father, and Brown took custody in 2011.