The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next month in the custody dispute between a 2-year-old girl’s adoptive parents on James Island and her biological father in Oklahoma.
Court officials released the date of the hearing, April 17, and said it would be closed to the public. Records in the case have been sealed, and parties in the case remain under a gag order.
James Island residents Matt and Melanie Capobianco connected with Veronica’s birth mother in Oklahoma in 2009. Matt and his wife cared for Veronica for her first four months, before her biological father filed for paternity and custody.
Dusten Brown, 30, is a registered member of the Cherokee Nation. After nearly two years of paperwork and hearings, a Charleston family court judge ruled in Brown’s favor under the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law designed to preserve Native American families.
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The judge ordered the Capobiancos to turn over Veronica, and Brown and his parents drove the toddler back to Oklahoma on New Year’s Eve. The Capobiancos’ friends gathered more than 20,000 signatures on a “Save Veronica” petition in the weeks that followed, and they hand-delivered the document to federal lawmakers’ offices and to Gov. Nikki Haley herself in January.
The couple took their case to the state Supreme Court that same month in hopes of overturning the family court ruling.