Brown's whereabouts unknown; Tribal hearing set for Monday - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Brown's whereabouts unknown; Tribal hearing set for Monday

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials with the Cherokee Nation said Sunday evening that they do not know where Dusten Brown is currently located, but said a hearing with the tribal council had been scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday. 

Amanda Clinton, a spokeswoman for the Cherokee Nation, said she did not know what the hearing's focus would be, but said she expected the details to be sealed.

Two days after Charleston County detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Dusten Brown, the biological father of 3-year-old Veronica, he was expected to turn himself in to authorities in Oklahoma.

However, that failed to happen. 

According to a report from Tulsa World, Brown requested permission to leave training in Iowa after the Cherokee Nation issued a subpoena Saturday night. A commanding officer told the newspaper he would not have to return to the training exercise.

It remains to be seen if Cherokee Nation officials will turn Brown over to Charleston County deputies for extradition back to the Lowcountry during Monday's hearing, or if Oklahoma law enforcement will find and detain Brown before the hearing.

In Cherokee County, where the hearing is set to take place, deputies told Tulsa World that they were not actively looking for Brown, but said he would be treated like anyone else with an outstanding felony warrant.

A base official at Camp Dodge in Iowa, where Brown was stationed for a month-long training exercise, said the Oklahoma National Guard revoked Brown's order to attend military school in Iowa and has directed him to report to Oklahoma.

The official did not know if Brown was still in Iowa.

The official said Brown's class was scheduled to report for duty at 8 a.m. at Camp Dodge on Sunday but did not know if he had done so.

The warrant for Custodial Interference is a result of Dusten Brown's failure to transfer custody of Veronica, as ordered by the 9th Judicial Circuit of Family Court issued on July 31 and Aug. 1, officials said.

On Sunday, the James Island adoptive couple's attorneys released a statement through their spokeswoman, Jessica Munday, saying that the situation the two sides currently face is not complicated and shows that Matt and Melanie Capobianco should not have given up Veronica 19 months ago when a South Carolina court ordered it.

"We now have a situation where Cherokee Nation officials appear to be actively assisting an ongoing felony, because they disagree with the final outcome of litigation in which they have participated in South Carolina and the United States Supreme Court over the last three years," the statement reads.

The statement says the only thing an Oklahoma court will be considering is whether Brown and those helping Brown will be considered criminals, speculating that he would move from state to state until all other states have sided with the Capobiancos.

"And then maybe he should get more process in Germany, or Switzerland," the statement reads.


SPECIAL SECTION: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl


"Those who have physical control of the child are also actively assisting a felony -- including Robin Brown -- who has declared that she will refuse to reveal Veronica's whereabouts to law enforcement and continues to vow not to comply with the law."

Munday says Matt and Melanie Capobianco plan to offer another statement early Monday morning in their James Island neighborhood.

"This statement is in response to the current developments regarding Veronica's birth father, Dusten Brown of Nowata, Okla, and the warrant for his arrest and his failure to turn himself in," Munday said via email.

According to a statement from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, officials reached out to the Army National Guard and Brown had plans to surrender on Sunday. Officials said once he is arrested, the extradition process to return him to Charleston will begin.

Brown's wife, Robin, told Tulsa World that she had joined her husband in Johnston, Iowa, for his National Guard training. Tulsa World reports Dusten Brown spent Saturday off the base, which is why he did not turning himself in Saturday night.

They have plans to fight extradition, Robin Brown said.

"Not only is the adoptive couple asking this child be ripped from her father while he is serving his country, they are also endangering his military career in the process," Amanda Clinton, a spokeswoman for the tribe, told the newspaper. "This is outrageous conduct."

Clinton went on to call the issuance of an arrest warrant morally reprehensible and legally questionable, saying all parties involved knew Brown was out of state at National Guard Training.

"Just because they get Dusten doesn't mean they will get Veronica," Robin Brown told Tulsa World.

Charleston County Sheriff's Office spokesman Maj. Jim Brady said Friday officials met earlier this week to discuss the case and find a way to move as quickly as possible.

The sheriff's office and Ninth Circuit Solicitor's office became involved in the custody battle Monday when a family court judge ordered Veronica returned immediately after the girl, her family and members of the Cherokee Nation failed to appear at the first transitional meeting between Brown and the Capobiancos.

In that first failed meeting, the Capobiancos waited for four hours at the determined location, but no one appeared from the Browns' side.

Brown argues that he has 20 days file with Oklahoma courts to stop the transfer of custody. He did tell a Tulsa, Okla.,-based newspaper on Thursday that he would comply with court orders.

Both sides have opened up to media in the past week, granting interviews.

In an interview with ABCNews4, the Capobiancos said they wanted to have their adoptive daughter back, but did not want to see something traumatic happen -- like law enforcement officers prying her out of her Oklahoma home.

Veronica's biological father, Dusten Brown, gained custody of Veronica after the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that he had a prevailing right to claim custody based on the 1968 Indian Child Welfare Act. She was removed from the Capobiancos' home on the last day of 2011.

Since then, she has been living in Oklahoma and the Capobiancos, along with Christinna Maldonado -- Veronica's birth mother who hand-picked the James Island couple to adopt her daughter -- and a host of attorneys, have been fighting to regain custody.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that Brown's ICWA-based argument, as well as the South Carolina court's ruling, was in error and ordered the lower court to re-examine the case without consideration of the 1968 law.

That's when the South Carolina Supreme Court decided that the Capobiancos should be the adoptive couple and urged the Charleston family court to finalize Veronica's adoption.

That order led to Sunday's missed meeting, the latest order to immediately return Veronica, Wednesday's hearing in Charleston -- and now an arrest warrant for Dusten Brown.

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