By Michael Overall
Her biological father, Spc. Dusten Brown, expects to be arrested Sunday morning in Johnston, Iowa, where he has gone for training with the Oklahoma National Guard.
But that won't make Veronica's family hand her over, Robin Brown told the Tulsa World.
"We're never going to give up on this little girl," she said.
"You can't be half Cherokee," says Chrissi Nimmo, the tribe's assistant attorney general. "Just like you can't be half American."
The case is a test of tribal sovereignty, she says.
And that has made Baby Veronica a cause célèbre for Indian rights nationwide, with coast-to-coast news coverage and more than 3,000 "likes" on the "Standing Our Ground for Veronica Brown" Facebook page.
With the tribal order in place first, Cherokee officials are arguing that South Carolina didn't have the authority to override it.
Dusten Brown was due home two days before an Aug. 23 deadline to challenge the South Carolina order in a local court, setting up a potential three-way battle over jurisdiction between South Carolina, Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation.
The dispute could end up in federal court, where Brown and the Cherokee Nation have already lost twice.
Whatever you think of the Baby Veronica, you can see that tribal rights are a key factor in the case. But not if you're a mainstream media outlet such as The Today Show:
Adoptive parents awarded custody of girl, 3, but 'nobody showed'
By Linda Carroll
After fighting the case all the way to the Supreme Court, Melanie and Matt Capobianco were once again awarded custody of “baby girl Veronica” last week. But the child's birth father, Dusten Brown, has not complied with the court’s order to hand the little girl over to the couple.
At the start of the five-day transition that had been planned to help the little girl adjust to the transfer from Brown back to the Capobiancos, “nobody showed,” Matt Capobianco told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Friday. “They could have asked for a different time, a different day. But none of his attorneys did. We assumed that he was going to show. But now I guess we assume they knew all along that he wasn’t going to show.”
Clearly distraught, Melanie Capobianco told Guthrie, “The last time we saw her was 19 months ago when we had to turn her over.”
Brown has had the little girl since 2011, when a South Carolina court awarded him custody from the Capobiancos, citing a federal law that seeks to keep Native American children with their birth parents. The Supreme Court overthrew that decision last week, saying that the federal statute did not apply in this case.
“They said because he had not been part of the child’s life, he was not entitled to say ‘this child is now being deprived of my heritage,’” Randy Kessler, a family law expert, explained to NBC in a taped report that preceded Guthrie's interview with the Capobiancos.
For more on Baby Veronica, see Indians May Sue for Baby Veronica and Baby Veronica Returned to Adoptive Parents.
Below: "Video: Melanie and Matt Capobianco, a South Carolina couple who have been awarded custody of a 3-year-old girl they adopted but then had to turn over to the child’s biological father, tell TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie they hope there is no trauma getting the little girl back after 18 months."