Monday, September 23, 2013

Oklahoma court lifts stay in Veronica custody case that blocked transfer to Charleston couple

Order blocking transfer is dissolved after days of unsuccessful mediation

Posted by Sam Spence on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Updated below with statement from Capobianco family spokesperson.

click to enlarge Melanie Capobianco with daughter Veronica - PROVIDED BY CAPOBIANCO FAMILY
  • Provided by Capobianco family
  • Melanie Capobianco with daughter Veronica

Late this afternoon, the Oklahoma Supreme Court voted to lift the stay put in place to prevent the custodial transfer of "Baby Veronica," the legal daughter of Charleston couple Matt and Melanie Capobianco. The lifting of the court order once again clears the way for Veronica, the now-four-year old in the middle of the years-long custody battle between her birth father and the Capobiancos, to return to the couple's James Island home.

The order comes as the Capobiancos reportedly finish days of unsuccessful mediation with Veronica's birth father, Dusten Brown, in a Tulsa court building. Since the court issued the stay earlier this month, blocking execution of a transfer order for Veronica, both parties were reportedly asked not to speak publicly about the case, so there have been few developments in recent weeks.

In an email sent to the media, a spokesperson for the Capobiancos said the family is not issuing a statement, but did pass along photos of Matt and Melanie playing with a smiling Veronica taken during visitations over the last few weeks.

"The pictures speak for themselves," spokesperson Jessica Munday said.

The timeline for Veronica's case and pending transfer is unclear at this point. The AP reports that the Cherokee Nation continues to deny any claim of custody by the Capobiancos and Brown continues to believe federal law favors his case.

Veronica spent the first 27 months of her life in the Capobiancos home on James Island, but has lived with her father in Oklahoma since New Years Eve 2011. Early this summer, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the South Carolina court's earlier ruling, determining that the Indian Child Welfare Act could not be invoked in the case.

UPDATE: Capobianco spokesperson Jessica Munday has issued a statement following Monday's decision to lift the stay.

With today’s decision of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Capobianco family’s long legal nightmare finally has come to an end. Matt and Melanie cannot wait to bring Veronica home and begin the healing process as a reunited family. Their hope now is that the Brown family and Cherokee Nation will return Veronica peacefully and voluntarily, rather than following through with their previous threats to continue to ignore court orders and place Veronica in a dangerous and traumatic situation.


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