Okla. gov.: Drop charge against adopted girl's dad

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP/WCIV) - A spokesman for Mary Fallin says the Oklahoma governor is trying to persuade South Carolina to drop an extradition order against a Cherokee father who disputed his daughter's adoption.

"Governor Fallin's hope is that Dusten Brown will not have to go to South Carolina," said the governor's Communications Director, Alex Weintz.

Dusten Brown, of Nowata, Okla., was charged with custodial interference in South Carolina in August after he failed to show up to a family court meeting there with his 4-year-old daughter Veronica. He's due in court in Oklahoma next week to face extradition to South Carolina.

Brown had been in a dispute with Veronica's adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco of South Carolina, for years. But on Monday, Brown handed Veronica over to them.

Gov. Nikki Haley's spokesman would not confirm that Fallin's office had reached out to Columbia, but did respond with a statement about any possible deal to keep Brown out of South Carolina.

"As this situation develops, Governor Haley will continue working with officials in South Carolina and Oklahoma, including Governor Mary Fallin, to find a solution that is in the best interests of both states, and most importantly, baby Veronica and the Capobiancos," said Doug Mayer, Haley's spokesman.

Brown faces an extradition hearing next week unless Fallin can broker a deal.

Brown's Charleston-based attorney Shannon Jones said Tuesday that the Capobiancos were filing suit against Brown in an attempt to recover thousands of dollars in legal expenses and to see him prosecuted.

The Capobiancos' attorney has not commented on the matter, but Lori Alvino McGill, the attorney representing Veronica's birth mother, said she knew of no pending litigation against Brown that had been started by the Capobiancos.

In Tahlequah, Okla., Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker says the nation "did everything possible" to stop the handover.

Baker released a statement Wednesday about the custody transfer of 4-year-old Veronica.

"It was with a heavy heart that we watched Veronica Brown leave her home, her family and the Cherokee Nation Monday night. {}History is repeating itself, as a Native American child is being forcibly relocated to South Carolina against the will of her father and her tribe," he said.

Baker says the Nation used every legal avenue available to keep Veronica with her biological father.

"But the Cherokee Nation is also a nation with a longstanding history of obeying the rule of law, so that is what we did on Monday. We also have a long standing tradition of adoption within our culture and know that adoption is a good thing when it is ethical and moral. {}{}We will continue to advocate for a greater understanding of and adherence to laws by the courts and adoption agencies to ensure that this tragedy is not repeated," Baker said.

The chief says the girl is always welcome in the Cherokee Nation.

"One day you will read about this tumultuous time in your life, and understand why we fought so hard alongside your father to keep your family whole. We hope at that time you understand how special and significant it is to be a Cherokee citizen," Baker said. "In the meantime, we will carry you in our hearts."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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