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.
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.
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.”