PRNewsFoto/WE tv
Troy Dunn on the cover of his 2010 book, It's Never Too Late: Lessons For Life From The Locator.

Capobiancos Send 'The Locator' TV Star to Take Veronica From School

Suzette Brewer

On Thursday, Matt and Melanie Capobianco declined several offers to visit with Veronica and quietly discuss her future with the Brown family. They instead filed yet another petition in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, demanding that the girl be brought to the courthouse by 9 a.m. this morning, where they have already alerted the media to attend.

Brown and his family have been residing in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, with round-the-clock security so that the family can maintain their privacy and safety while Veronica attends preschool without media intrusion.

But as they continued their Oklahoma media tour yesterday, a large black SUV with blacked out windows was spotted trolling the Sequoyah Indian School campus in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. Troy Dunn, star of the hit tv show "The Locator" and Capobianco spokesman, had brought a camera crew with him in an apparent attempt to track down Veronica and confront Dusten Brown in person on school grounds. The school is located on federal Indian trust land with hundreds of students and faculty ranging in age from pre-K through high school.

The Capobiancos, who have pointedly ignored several offers to see Veronica, sent Dunn with their permission to mediate on their behalf. Brown has made numerous attempts to schedule a visitation between the Capobiancos and Veronica since Governor Mary Fallin's veiled threat to extradite him if he didn't "cooperate" with the Capobiancos.

RELATED: Oklahoma Governonr Caves; Threatens to Extradite Baby Veronica's Dad

On August 15, Dunn's vehicle was instead stopped and surrounded by half a dozen Cherokee Nation Marshal vehicles and escorted off the school premises. The Cherokee tribal complex and the school, which are adjoining, are off-limits to television camera crews without prior consent of the tribe.

“He is neither a counselor, nor a mental expert, although he perpetuates that illusion on TV,” said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree late Thursday afternoon. “Furthermore, in his more than year-long involvement with the Capobiancos, he has proven himself not to be a neutral party in this matter; he has made inflammatory statements to the media and has publicly posted degrading comments about Veronica's real father, Dusten Brown.”

Dunn had dominated the Capobianco's press conference on Wednesday, dramatically challenging Brown to meet with him privately, with no others present. Legal experts say that not only was Dunn's presence at the press conference a “distraction” and “sideshow,” but also that his behavior raises serious ethical questions regarding his role—with the Capobiancos approval—in attempting to assert himself in brokering a deal in one of the most contentious custody battles in U.S. History.

“My concerns of [Dunn's appearance] yesterday were well founded in that today, Troy Dunn and his hired TV cameras were asked to leave Cherokee Nation school premises by Cherokee Nation Marshals,” said Hembree. “His antics are inappropriate and dangerous. The safety and well-being of our children is our first priority.”

The couple's spokeswoman, Jessica Munday, told news outlets that the Capobiancos did not accept Brown's offer to see Veronica because there is “anxiousness, when you're this close and not five states away.”

Rather than accept Brown's request to meet quietly to discuss Veronica's future, however, the Capobiancos instead turned to what has now become what insiders are calling “desperate and chilling” attempts to use the media to argue their case.

“While publicly pleading for a visit and a compromise on custody, now the Capobiancos refuse to respond to reasonable offers for both of those things, while they allow and condone a reality TV crew to stalk and harass the Browns,” said a local lawyer. “It is unclear what exactly the Capobiancos want, but it is clear that they are not at all concerned about what is best for Veronica.”

As the Capobiancos head to court this morning, Indian Country Today Media Network has learned that in her testimony in South Carolina Family Court, Melanie Capobianco testified that she was previously charged with underage drinking as a teen and later as an adult with Driving Under the Influence in South Carolina. As well, both charges were mentioned in the replacement report that was filed with Greenville, South Carolina-based Nightlight Christian Adoptions, an agency owned and operated by attorney Ray Godwin and his wife, Laura.

RELATED: Second Indian Infant Whisked to South Carolina for Quickie Adoption

Court watchers and social workers say that given the previous issues with alcohol, combined with ceaseless media interviews with no real effort to see or speak to Veronica and the bizarre attempt to send a reality star and camera crew to speak on her behalf as a “parent,” that Dusten Brown's case is only gaining momentum for the best interest determination hearing that he and his lawyers have been seeking in the last several weeks.

“The general public is only now beginning to learn what those of us who have dealt with them for the last four years have always known,” said another insider to the case. “These people are more addicted to attention-seeking and drama than what's best for this little girl and makes you wonder what kind of life she would have with them. They can't boil water without calling a press conference and it's time to put the microphones away and get down to business for Veronica's well-being because their behavior has now crossed a line and is extremely concerning.”

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



MLWells's picture
Submitted by MLWells on
On what grounds do the Cs opine that Veronica would have been placed in foster care had they surrendered her when notified that DB contested the adoption? In all likelihood, she would have been placed in the care of her grandparents - her extended biological family - NOT in foster care. From the moment they were noticed of DBs wish to raise his daughter, they, thereafter denied Veronica HER right to be raised by her biological family. I sympathize with their loss - they had planned to adopt a child to raise as their own. But, they HAD to know that the biological father had not consented to the placement of his child for adoption ... they obviously did not have his written consent in their possession at the time they removed the child from OK. While it is true that they still were required to notice him of the adoption - even if he had given his consent previously - a "waiver of service" does not constitute a consent to adoption. It is also true that, had he not appeared at the transfer of custody hearing after being noticed, his failure to appear would have been deemed consent and his parental rights terminated. But, the waiver, by itself, does not constitute consent. Having not seen the waiver, I only assume that it reads something like "having been duly served with notice of a hearing of Cs intent to adopt Baby Girl, your failure to appear at said hearing and stating to the court your objection to said adoption will be deemed a consent to said adoption. DB immediately contacted JAG officials who secured counsel both in SC and OK to notice both courts of DBs objection to the adoption of his child. The SC court granted a stay of further proceedings until such time as DB could return from deployment and seek, in person, custody of his daughter. From that moment forward, the Cs knew that it was likely that they would have to give up Veronica. In light of Oklahoma's "abandonment statute" I am convinced that Veronica's biological mother DELIBERATELY concealed her whereabouts and ceased all communications with DB and his family - and refused all offers of support - to enable the Cs to utilize the abandonment statute to further their wish to adopt Veronica. Without a doubt, DB should have done more to secure visitations with his infant daughter. He should have taken steps to register as her biological father and accept financial responsibility for her. These are steps he could have taken and still given the bio mom "the space" he believed she needed to reconcile their differences. They had had problems in the past - had an on again/off again relationship. But, he had the means by which to provide for both the bio mom and his daughter - and reportedly WANTED to marry. It sounds as though bio mom simply didn't want him in her life - didn't want to have to maintain contact with him for whatever reason - and knew that she could not cut all ties to him IF he were allowed to play a role in his daughter's life. Perhaps the promise of thousands of dollars in cash sounded better to her than having someone provide the necessities such as rent, utilities, groceries, and health care. Perhaps she believed them to be wholly incompatible. But, she took no precautions to prevent a pregnancy. And, there's the matter of HER child support obligations for her prior children. It appears there is much more to this saga than EITHER party is telling! Bottom line is that DB is the biological father. Immediately upon being served notice of the Cs intent to adopt Veronica, he noticed the Cs - and the SC court - of his objection to the adoption and the adoption was stayed pending his return from deployment. He wants to raise his daughter. Absent evidence that he is unfit and/or abusive, he should be granted custody of Veronica.