'Baby Veronica' Demonstrators Rally At State Capitol

Monday, August 19th 2013, 6:35 pm
By: News 9

The emotional custody battle continues for Baby Veronica. Demonstrators gathered at the state capitol on Monday in support of the little girl's biological father, Dusten Brown.

Three-year-old Veronica is in the middle of a custody battle between Dusten Brown, and her adoptive parents in South Carolina, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

8/17/2013 Related Story: 'Baby Veronica' Hearings Take Place In Oklahoma; Mediation Agreement Filed

Demonstrators today argued that Veronica may never really learn about her Cherokee heritage unless Brown is granted custody.

Dozens carried signs outside the state capitol in support of Dusten Brown, a Cherokee Nation citizen. Demonstrators here are hoping the courts will keep Veronica with Brown.

Chebon Kernell, raising a son of his own, wants Veronica to know her Cherokee heritage.

"[I hope] that she will have that opportunity to learn who she is because even though she may not be asking questions about that culture now, there will come a time when she will be looking for it and saying, ‘who is my family?'" Kernell said.

Veronica has lived with two different families. The Capobiancos raised her until she was 2, but a South Carolina court ordered them to turn her over to Brown, citing the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned that ruling in June.

"I just hope that people will learn both sides of the story because the Indian Child Welfare Act happened for a reason," Sarah Adams-Cornell said.

Brown and the Capobiancos were in court in Tahlequah last week. The ongoing custody hearings are closed to the media, and the court records are sealed.

As both sides wait to see what happens, demonstrators here admit there's no perfect outcome.

"It's a hard situation. The love for a child, as I mother, I understand that. That is strong. They formed that bond with her, so I sympathize in that way, but we also have to understand that she will not be part of her culture in that home," Adams-Cornell said.

Veronica is with her father. He hasn't turned her over. That's why he faces custodial interference charges in South Carolina.

Governor Fallin's office told News 9 today that as long as both families are working cooperatively, she will not expedite review of the extradition request for Brown.