Dad in Veronica case seeks Oklahoma adoption

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV/AP) - The biological father of a child who is the center of a custody suit that went to the U.S. Supreme Court has now filed to adopt the child in Oklahoma.

Dusten Brown and his new wife, along with Brown's parents, filed the court papers in Oklahoma July 1.

In the filing, the Browns cited having custody of Veronica since December 2011, when she was removed from a James Island couple's home under the Indian Child Welfare Act. South Carolina courts originally said the federal Indian Child Welfare Act favored her living with her father and Brown took custody in 2011.

Brown filed for custody initially, citing the precedent of ICWA, but the Supreme Court's opinion was that the law did not apply to the case even though Veronica was 3/256ths Cherokee because Brown had relinquished his rights as father.{}

The filing goes on to say the Browns wanted to change Veronica's name.

The petition also argues that Veronica's birth mother, Christinna Maldonado, gave up her parental rights in 2010 and has not tried to regain custody. Maldonado has been vocal in her support of Matt and Melanie Capobianco, saying she had selected them to adopt Veronica.

Her attorney Lori Alvino McGill disputed that claim. She also said she thought Brown filed the adoption petition to delay having to give Veronica back to the Capobiancos.

"He probably thinks the longer he can hang on to her physically and keep her away from the Capobiancos and her birth mother, the harder it'll be for a South Carolina court to finalize the adoption," McGill said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that South Carolina courts should decide who gets to adopt 3-year-old Veronica.

The Capobiancos, who raised Veronica for the first 27 months of her life, appealed. Their attorney says the Oklahoma filing will further delay South Carolina proceedings. The Capobiancos have asked the S.C. Supreme Court to expedite their decision regarding whether the can continue with Veronica's adoption. McGill said she expected a decision to come down in the next few days.

We also spoke with a father who experienced a similar court battle involving the Indian Child Welfare Act. At the time, his two adoptive sons were 4 and 5. They are now 17 and 18. He said the drawn-out legal battle is not what's best for the child.

"I know legal wrangling happens but I really don't believe this is in Veronica's best interest to drag it out further," Johnston Moore said.

He did not think she had been scarred by the tribulations, and believed she should return to the James Island couple.