Dusten Brown, Cherokee Nation end their fight for Baby Veronica: 'My home will always be your home'
10:38 AM, Oct 10, 2013
6:09 PM, Oct 10, 2013
TULSA - The battle is over.
Dusten Brown, the biological father of Baby Veronica, said Thursday he will no longer pursue custody of the 4-year-old girl.
In a press conference that lasted just 10 minutes, Brown was joined by Cherokee Nation Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo, who said they "jointly moved to dismiss all pending litigation" regarding the custody battle.
Brown has fought for four years to gain custody of Veronica, who he returned to Matt and Melanie Capobianco last month. The South Carolina couple cared for her until she was nearly 2 years old when they were forced to hand her over to Brown by the courts, which cited the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The case later reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled ICWA was not applicable to the case because Brown was a noncustodial parent.
Nearly four years into the fight, the Capobiancos were awarded full legal custody of Veronica, but Brown continued to appeal and delayed returning the girl to her adoptive family until the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted an order preventing her from leaving the state.
Brown was charged with contempt in South Carolina when he did not hand the girl over, but Nimmo said during Thursday's press conference they're asking South Carolina "for mercy" and to dismiss those charges.
"(Dusten's) only motivation was to do what's best for Veronica," said Nimmo.
Brown spoke Thursday of how much he misses Veronica.
"It's difficult to put into words how empty our home feels," he said.
Brown choked back tears and struggled to compose himself while he read his statement.
"We did everything in our power to keep Veronica home with her family," he said. "It's no longer fair for Veronica to be in the middle of a battle ... The time has come for me to let Veronica live a normal childhood, and that means stopping the ongoing litigations."
"Her safety, happiness and well being have always been my number one priority," said Brown. "I know that the Capobiancos love Veronica very much and will provide her with a good home."
Brown said he hopes the Capobiancos honor their offer of letting him be involved in Veronica's life so he can speak to and see her regularly.
Brown directed the end of his statement to the toddler and through tears he said, "My home will always be your home."