TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The latest chapter in the 'Baby Veronica' case played out inside closed court hearings at the Cherokee County and Cherokee Nation Courthouses Friday.
David Trout sat outside Neat Stuff, his antique shop in downtown Tahlequah, watching the scene unfold over at the tribal courthouse just across Muskogee Avenue.
"It is exciting being across the street from a historic building like this. Sometimes stuff happens like this," Trout said.
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Trout, Cherokee himself, says it is challenging to find more than one side to this custody battle out here in Tahlequah.
"It is the Cherokee Nation, so I really haven't heard the other side," Trout said. "All I have heard is the Cherokee side of it. Which I can totally sympathize with. The majority of the people across the street, they want the baby to stay with the Cherokee family."
Those people across the street were protestors, about 25 in total. Most from the Cherokee Nation, peacefully supporting Veronica's biological father and grandparents.
A portion of the protestors are employees of the Cherokee Nation, but said they weren't compensated to be outside the courthouse.
They showed up on their own time. Some of the protestors have talked with the Browns and said Veronica's grandmother has been taking this the hardest, which could be seen as she walked into court today.
"You can see it in her face," J.P. Johnson said. "You can see it in her body language that she is broken and hurt. The parents are doing their best to keep their game face on."
Johnson, one of the protestors from the Cherokee Nation, said this battle has always been about 'Baby Veronica,' but also more than that.
"This is going to affect all native children," Johnson said. "They are going to be affected by this. We know that. We can't be anywhere else but here."
As the fight for custody plays out in court, in Tahlequah many recognize that there is no happy ending to this story.
"From what I understand, it seems like both families are totally capable in a perfect world of raising this kid with no problems," Trout said. "It is a shame that somebody is going to be real hurt over it and that the kid is in the middle."
On the other side of the fight for Veronica, Matt and Melanie Capabianco.
They were silent as they left the courthouses Friday, following a gag order from the Cherokee County Court. There was no visible support for the Capabiancos outside either courthouse.