Baby Veronica's biological dad ends fight: 'You'll always be my little girl'
The biological father of "Baby Veronica" is done fighting.
In a news conference Thursday in Tulsa, Okla., Dusten Brown and the assistant attorney general for the Cherokee Nation announced they would not pursue any more appeals in the custody case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and raised questions about tribal jurisdiction.
Chrissi Nimmo, the assistant attorney general, also asked the girl's adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, to show "mercy" and to dismiss contempt charges in South Carolina, and to do everything in their power to make sure criminal charges against Brown are dismissed.
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"We hope that you continue to honor your commitment to allow Dusten and his family to be part of Veronica's life," Nimmo said, adding that there had been recent communication between Brown and Veronica — although she would not go into specifics.
The bitter cross-country custody battle began in 2009 when Veronica's parents split up. Brown signed paperwork giving custody to her birth mother, who later put Veronica up for adoption. Brown, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, objected.
After invoking the Indian Child Welfare Act, which aims to keep native American children with their tribes, Brown was awarded custody and Veronica had to leave South Carolina. The girl lived with Brown in Oklahoma for nearly two years.
But this summer — in a rare move —the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in, ruling that the Indian Child Welfare Act did not apply because Brown had "abandoned the Indian child before birth and never had custody."
Courts in South Carolina then demanded that Brown give Veronica back to the Capobiancos. He initially refused and was charged with custodial interference.
At first, the Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed to keep Veronica in the state during the appeals process. But the justices reversed the ruling Sept. 23 and Brown handed over the girl.
This morning, he spoke publicly for the first time since that night.
"It was the love for my daughter that kept me going all this time," Brown said. "But it was also love for my daughter that gave me the strength to accept things beyond my control."
He cried as he described the past two and a half weeks without his daughter.
"My home will always be your home," he said. "You're always welcome in it. I miss you more than words can express. You'll always be my little girl — my princess — and I will always love you until the day I die."