Biological Father of 'Baby Veronica' Arrested, Refuses Extradition in Adoption Fight

Dusten Brown is out on bond after he was arrested for custodial interference.

ByABC News
August 13, 2013, 3:22 AM

Aug. 13, 2013— -- The biological father of a Cherokee Indian girl at the center of a contentious custody battle has been arrested after resisting a court order to return the girl to her adoptive parents. who claim the 3-year-old has been kidnapped.

Dusten Brown surrendered Monday to the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Office in eastern Oklahoma. Brown, an Iraq war veteran, appeared before a judge but refused extradition without a governor's warrant from South Carolina, where the adoptive parents, Melanie and Matt Capobianco, live.

"He is a very loving father, a responsible citizen and he is serving his country in the military," Brown's attorney, Rob Nigh, said. "He has consistently indicated that custody of his daughter is of critical importance to him and he intends to assert his legal rights."

Brown paid the $10,000 fugitive bond and has another court hearing in 30 days, according to police.

The complex custody case centers on 3-year-old Veronica and the Capobiancos made it clear Monday that they want her back because she is being held against her will.

"Our daughter has been kidnapped and I expect the situation to be treated as such," Matt Capobianco said at a press conference.

"We come before you all today as parents, to simply ask those who stand with the authority to enforce the laws, where are you? Why are you standing by and watching our daughter Veronica be held against our will? Why have you been so slow to recover a child who is being illegally held against the wishes of her parents and the courts? We ask, what are you waiting for?" Melanie Capobianco added.

After Veronica's birth mother, who is not a member of the Cherokee tribe, rejected Dusten Brown's marriage proposal, he was not present for the pregnancy and did not pay child support after Veronica was born in September 2009.

The Capobiancos were picked by Veronica's birth mother to be her adoptive parents and the girl was raised from birth by the couple in South Carolina for two years.

However, when Dusten Brown, who is of Cherokee descent, found out that the Capobiancos were going to adopt her, he objected.

Brown gained custody of Veronica at the very end of 2011 after the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that he had a prevailing right to claim custody based on the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, which aimed to keep Indian children from being placed with non-Indian adoptive or foster parents.

"We tucked Veronica into bed from the time she was two days old right up until they took her away from us," Melanie Capobianco said.

After the ruling, the Capobiancos appealed the South Carolina Supreme Court decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the lower court should reconsider their ruling. The lower court then reversed its ruling.

Two weeks ago, a South Carolina family court judge finalized the Capobianco's adoption of Veronica. The judge also approved a transition plan for Veronica so that she would be gradually reintroduced to the Capobiancos.

Brown failed to produce Veronica during a court-ordered transitional meeting Aug. 4. Then, the judge issued an order that Veronica be immediately turned over to the Capobiancos. South Carolina authorities issued a warrant for Brown's arrest, charging him with custodial interference.

Veronica is currently in the care of her paternal grandparents and Dusten Brown's wife, Robin Brown, according to The Associated Press. The three had been named temporary guardians of the girl by a Cherokee Nation court while Dusten Brown was in Iowa attending training for the Oklahoma National Guard.

ABC News' Gillian Mohney contributed to this report.