Veronica’s Timeline

MONTH/YEAR ACTIONS OF PARTIES INVOLVED
April 2009 Veronica’s birth parents’ relationship ends because birth father abandons parental responsibilities and is unwilling to financially support the mother of his unborn child. Birth father knows baby is due in September (pg. 6 SC Supreme Court ruling).
May 2009 Christy, Veronica’s birth mom, continues providing updates to birth father about pregnancy. Phone records show no response from birth father. (Source: Footnote #36 of SC Supreme Court Ruling).
June 2009 Christy decides adoption is best for her unborn child. She is already struggling financially as a single mother of two children and knows it would be even more difficult to provide for a third child without help from the birth father. Birth father responds stating he wants to sign his rights away (see text messages)
July 2009 Christy selects Matt and Melanie to raise her child. She feels an instant connection with them and knows in her heart these are the people to raise her unborn child. She continues to work double shifts to make ends meet for her and her two children. She hasn’t seen birth father in months.
August 2009 Melanie and Christy begin speaking weekly and fostering a close relationship. Melanie flies to Oklahoma to visit Christy. Paperwork is filed with agencies and attorneys. An innocent spelling mistake is made but Christy brings it to their attention. Dusten was inadvertently spelled Dustin. Christy is unaware of birth father’s exact birth date.Key Points:

  1. Page 36: SC Supreme Court ruling – Mother provided her attorney with Father’s correctly spelled name and location and what she believed to be his date of birth. Page 37: Mother’s attorney forwarded this information to Cherokee Nation in a letter dated August 21, 2009. Mother testified she knew Father’s birthday was in October and that he was older than she was, so Father’s year of birth was sometime before 1982.
  2. During oral arguments at SC Supreme Court hearing, Cherokee Nation acknowledge only 8 members (out of 316,000+) have the same first and last name as birth father using both “i” and “e.”
September 2009 Veronica is born. Matt and Melanie are in the delivery room. Matt cuts Veronica’s umbilical cord. Christy feels at peace with her decision. There are no meaningful attempts by the birth father or his family to contact Christy during this time nor does anyone attempt to visit the hospital. Once Matt and Melanie receive permission to leave Oklahoma, they return home to Charleston, SC with their newborn daughter.
January 2010 Birth father is finally located after numerous attempts and served papers allowing the adoption to be finalized. He signs and acknowledges to Christy that he signed. On January 14, 2010, he files for paternity and custody. He does not indicate that Veronica or himself are Native American (see below – April 2010 for details). Veronica is now 4 months old and thriving with the Capobiancos, their extended family and friends.
February 2010 Birth father is now overseas with the Army.
April 2010 Birth father’s paperwork is amended to reflect that he and Veronica have Native American blood. Cherokee Nation intervenes. Source: Footnote #12 in US Supreme Court petition.
May 2010 Paternity results come back and confirm Brown is Veronica’s biological father. Veronica is now 8 months old. Christy remains committed to her decision to ‘give Veronica a chance’ and believes that adoption is in the best interest of her daughter.
July 2010 Oklahoma dismisses the case. Case is transferred to South Carolina. Veronica is now 10 months old. Source: Oklahoma Public Records
September 2010 Veronica celebrates her 1st birthday surrounded by friends and family.
December 2010 Birth father returns to Oklahoma. Makes no attempts to contact Christy, Matt, Melanie or Veronica. Veronica is now 15 months old.
July 2011 South Carolina sets family court date and declares that the Indian Child Welfare Act applies to Veronica’s case. Veronica is now 22 months old. She has learned to talk, color, swim and has developed a substantial bond with Matt, Melanie and extended family. She has even developed friendships of her own. Christy flies to Charleston to visit Matt, Melanie and Veronica.
September 2011 Family court is held on September 12-16. Christy flies on September 11, 2011 to come to South Carolina. She testifies on behalf of the Capobiancos.
December 2011 Family court rules in favor of birth father and the Indian Child Welfare Act. Veronica’s guardian ad litem files a motion to reconsider. The court denies the guardian’s request. Birth father comes to Charleston, SC on New Years Eve and after less than 2 hours, leaves with Veronica. The Capobiancos have not seen her since.
January 2012 Attorneys for Matt and Melanie file request for South Carolina Supreme Court to hear their case.
February 2012 South Carolina Supreme Court agrees to hear case. It will be the state Supreme Court’s first time weighing in on a case involving the Indian Child Welfare Act. Mental health and child welfare professionals from around the country issue a letter stating their outrage about the Indian Child Welfare Act, Veronica’s case and the complete absence of a transition.
April 2012 Oral arguments are held at SC Supreme Court.
June 2012 Birth father is married again.
July 2012 South Carolina issues a 3-2 ruling stating:“We do not take lightly the grave interests at stake in this case. However, we are constrained by the law and convinced by the facts that the transfer of custody to Father was required under the law. Adoptive Couple are ideal parents who have exhibited the ability to provide a loving family environment for Baby Girl. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that we affirm the family court order.”
August 2012 Birth father tells Matt and Melanie never to call or ask to speak with Veronica again. They are to stop sending care packages too.
October 2012 Attorneys for Matt and Melanie submit petition to the United States Supreme Court on October 1. Christy still has not heard from birth father nor has she seen Veronica in over a year.
January 2013 The United States Supreme Court announces acceptance of Veronica’s Indian Child Welfare Act Adoption Case. Details can be found on the SCOTUS Blog.
April 2013 The United States Supreme Court hear oral arguments for Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.
June 2013 Adoptive Couple prevail at United States Supreme Court with Justice Samuel Alito issuing the order. He expedited the remand back to South Carolina Supreme Court – an action the court hasn’t taken in 15 years!
July 2013 South Carolina Supreme Court orders that the adoption is to be finalized and Veronica is to be returned to her adoptive parents. Moreover, the state Supreme Court denied a rehearing. On July 31, 2013, Judge Daniel Martin of the Charleston County Family Court finalizes Veronica’s adoption and orders a gradual transition plan for Veronica and all parties involved.
August 2013 August was a busy month in the fight to stand up for Veronica’s rights. After Veronica’s adoption was finalized in South Carolina a series of events took place creating a chain reaction.

  • August 4 – Birth father fails to show up for transfer.
  • August 6 – Judge Martin issues an enforcement order for birth father to immediately transfer Veronica back to her lawful parents and asks for assistance from law enforcement if needed.
  • August 11 – Matt and Melanie hold a press conference in Charleston asking for help locating their daughter.
  • August 12 – Governor Nikki Haley signs extradition warrant for Brown. “Gov. Haley has been working with law enforcement and the solicitor’s office to issue a requisition warrant today,” said spokesman Doug Mayer. “She stands in support of the Capobiancos and shares their desire to bring Veronica home safely.”
  • August 13 – Biological father turns himself into authorities in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma.
  • August 13 – Matt and Melanie leave for Oklahoma to find their daughter.
  • August 14 – A press conference is held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa. Immediately following the press conference, Governor Mary Fallin releases a statement asking Brown to let Matt and Melanie see Veronica.
  • August 15 – Matt and Melanie determine that the Cherokee Nation is hiding Veronica on tribal land and request a writ of habeaus corpus in Cherokee County, Oklahoma.
  • August 16 – Court hearing is held in Cherokee County. Mediation is ordered and a gag order put in place.
  • August 30 – Nowata County, Oklahoma recognized Veronica’s adoption. Biological father appeals to Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Sept. 2013
  • Sept. 4 – Governor Mary Fallin signs extradition warrant.
  • Sept. 5 – Biological father turns himself into same judge in Sequoyah County. He is let out on bail despite the sheriff’s objections. Save Veronica supporters demand an investigation into Judge Jeff Payton with Oklahoma Attorney General.
  • Sept. 12 – Oklahoma Supreme Court assigns case to court of civil appeals.
  • Sept. 16 to present – Mediation hearings are held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.