CHARLESTON, S. C. – A South Carolina judge has ordered Baby Veronica be returned to her “lawful parents” immediately.
Monday the judge said the toddler’s biological father, Dusten Brown, is keeping her from her adoptive parents.
Officials said Veronica and Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation who lives in Oklahoma, missed a visitation Sunday with the adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.
That was two days after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Brown’s plea to stay Veronica’s transfer.
A South Carolina court finalized Veronica’s adoption and transition order.
The court ordered visits with the “lawful parents,” the Capobiancos, right away so Veronica could become reacquainted with them.
She spent the first two years of her life with that family.
According to court documents, Brown and Veronica never made it to the 3 p.m. scheduled visitation, the first of the transition order.
The adoption investigator wrote in the affidavit that she waited the entire four-hour period for Brown or an associate to arrive.
In response, the judge ruled Brown violated the terms of the transition order and awarded “sole and exclusive physical custody” to the Capobianos.
The judge said, “the transfer of that physical custody shall occur immediately,” according to court documents.
Brown’s attorneys must state where Brown is writing by Aug. 6.
Representatives for the Cherokee Nation said all parties knew Brown would be at National Guard training weeks in advance.
In response to the order, Cherokee Nation Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo released the following statement:
“It is disgusting to insinuate criminal misconduct or wrongdoing on Dusten’s behalf. He is in another state for mandatory National Guard training, which all parties and the court have known for a least two weeks. It is physically and legally impossible for Dusten to comply with the current order. This is another ploy to paint Dusten as the ‘bad guy.’ It is especially appalling while he is serving his country.”