Gypsy Rose was suffering from leukemia and muscular dystrophy when she was just 8-years-old. She required a wheelchair, oxygen tanks, and a feeding tube. She also had seizures, asthma, hearing loss and visual impairments. Her mother was devoted to giving her everything she ever wanted. As you can imagine, she had many surgeries over the years for all of her health conditions and even had her salivary glands removed. It's awful to even comprehend someone going through all of this, especially at such a young age, but in this story, it's all fake. Gypsy didn't have all of the health issues that her mother claimed she did and no one found out until it was too late. Gypsy and her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn took matters into their own hands and killed Dee Dee Blanchard.
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DEE DEE BLANCHARD
Dee Dee Blanchard was born Clauddine Pitre (Pit-ree) in Chackbay, Louisiana. She eventually changed her name to Dee Dee so we will refer to her that way for the whole story. During her childhood, relatives say that she occasionally engaged in petty theft and this was primarily used as a form of retaliation when she didn't get her way. When she was a young adult, she worked as a nurse's aide. In 1997, the family expressed suspicion that she may have killed her own mother by denying her food. When Dee Dee was 24, she got pregnant by a guy named Rod Blanchard who was only 17. They named their daughter Gypsy Rose because Dee Dee liked the name Gypsy and Rod was a fan of Guns N' Roses. Gypsy Rose was born in July 1991 and the couple separated shortly after.
Gypsy's father, Rod, remained involved in his daughter's life. When she was just three months old, Dee Dee was convinced that her baby suffered from sleep apnea and began taking her to the hospital where she was repeatedly doing overnight stays so they could do a sleep monitor and other tests, but the doctors couldn't find any sign of this condition. Dee Dee became convinced that Gypsy had a wide range of health issues and she believed it was due to an unspecified chromosomal disorder.
Gypsy's childhood is pretty sketch. When she was about 7 or 8 years old, she was riding on her grandfather's motorcycle and they were involved in a minor accident. Gypsy had an abrasion on her knee and Dee Dee said there was a visible sign of injuries that would require several surgeries. At this point, Gypsy, who had already been forced to use a walker, was now confined to a wheelchair even though she was healthy enough and able to walk on her own.
Gypsy's parents often took her to Special Olympics events. In 2001, Dee Dee claimed that Gypsy was only 8, but she was actually 10. She was named the honorary queen of the Krewe of Mid-city, a child-oriented parade that was held during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Gypsy may have stopped going to school after the second grade, but it is possible that she may have stopped school after kindergarten. Dee Dee wanted to home school her since her illnesses were so severe.
Gypsy's father, Rod, ended up getting remarried. Dee Dee and Gypsy moved in with her father and stepmother. Dee Dee's family began claiming that she had prepared food for her stepmother, poisoned it with Roundup weed killer, which lead to her developing a chronic illness. Dee Dee was arrested several times for minor offenses, including writing bad checks. Dee Dee's family began confronting her regularly about the way she treated Gypsy and they expressed their suspicions of her poisoning her stepmother. Dee Dee took Gypsy and moved out. Coincidentally, her stepmother's health returned to normal shortly after her departure from the home.
Gypsy and Dee Dee moved into public housing. The bills were paid with public assistance that Dee Dee had been granted due to her daughter's medical conditions and Rod's child-support payments. Gypsy visited many specialists over the years to seek treatment and she had developed hearing and vision problems on top of everything else. Dee Dee insisted that Gypsy had muscular dystrophy, but a muscle biopsy was completed and there was no sign that she had this. Dee Dee explained to the doctors that Gypsy had seizures every few months and they began prescribing her anti-seizure medication. Gypsy would always end up in the emergency room for minor ailments and she did have several surgeries performed.
Over the years, several medical tests showed inconclusive or contradicting results regarding Gypsy's diagnosis. Once doctors started questioning things, Dee Dee would stop seeing them. Dee Dee had some nurse's training so she was able to accurately describe symptoms and would give Gypsy medications that could mimic certain conditions. Dee Dee was described as very charming and appeared to be devoted to her daughter.
In 2005, Gypsy and Dee Dee were forced to leave their ruined apartment after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their area. They ended up moving to a shelter for individuals with special needs. Dee Dee said that Gypsy's medical records and birth certificate, had all been destroyed in the flooding. A doctor suggested that they should relocate her to Missouri and a month later they were airlifted there.
When Gypsy and Dee Dee got to Missouri, they rented a home in Aurora. Gypsy was honored by the Oley Foundation, as its 2007 Child of the Year, which advocates for the rights of feeding-tube recipients. In 2008, Habitat for Humanity built a small home for Dee Dee and Gypsy that included a wheelchair ramp and a hot tub. The pair got a lot of media attention at this time because it was a story of a single mother with a severely disabled daughter forced to flee the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. People were eating this shit up. The community showed the family a great deal of support and they received a large amount of charitable donations. Missouri gave Dee Dee and Gypsy free flights so they could continue seeing doctors in Kansas City. They also received free trips to Walt Disney World and backstage passes to Miranda Lambert concerts. Rod Blanchard continued to make monthly child support payments, sent gifts to Gypsy and occasionally talked to her on the phone. Rod recalls that he called Gypsy on her 18th birthday and Dee Dee told him not to mention her real age because Gypsy believed that she was 14. Ron and his new wife tried to set up times to go visit Gypsy, but Dee Dee would provide a variety of reasons why they had to cancel each time. Dee Dee told her neighbors that Rod was an abusive drug addict and alcoholic who never sent them money and couldn't come to terms with his daughter's health issues.
Gypsy and Dee Dee were attracting a lot of attention nationwide once they moved to Missouri. Many foundations were reaching out to them and specialists were also contacting them to see if they could help and would offer to see Gypsy at their clinics.
Gypsy charmed people when she met them. She was 5-foot tall and was missing most of her teeth, had very large glasses and a high pitched voice. She often wore wigs or hats since her mother routinely shaved her head and claimed that the medications would cause her hair to fall out anyways. When they left the house, they always had to bring the oxygen tank and feeding tube. Gypsy was fed a children's nutrition supplement PediaSure well into her 20s.
Dee Dee did use physical abuse to control Gypsy. When they were around others, Dee Dee would hold Gypsy's hand so she could tightly squeeze it if Gypsy said anything that suggested she may not really be sick. Once they were alone, Dee Dee would strike her daughter with an open hand or coat hanger for saying something she didn't approve of.
Another treatment that Dee Dee had done was to have Gypsy's saliva glands treated with Botox, then extracted altogether, to control her drooling. Gypsy later claimed that her mother was inducing the drooling by using a topical anesthetic to numb her gums before they went to doctor visits. The lack of salivary glands and the anti-seizure medication caused Gypsy's teeth to decay and the majority of her teeth had to be extracted and replaced by a bridge. She also had to get tubes implanted in her ears to treat all of the ear infections.
There was a pediatric neurologist, named Bernardo Flasterstein who saw Gypsy and he became very suspicious of her muscular dystrophy diagnosis. The neurologist ordered MRIs and blood tests, but there were no abnormalities. He told Dee Dee that he didn't understand why Gypsy couldn't walk and during the follow up visit, he saw Gypsy stand and support her own weight. The neurologist realized that Dee Dee wasn't providing accurate timelines or information about her daughter. He took matters into his own hands and contacted Gypsy's doctors in New Orleans and this is where he learned that Gypsy's original muscle biopsy had come back negative. He began suspecting the possibility of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. This is a mental disorder where a caretaker of a child either makes up fake symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it appear that the child is injured or ill. Dee Dee was able to gain access to the neurologist's notes and stopped taking Gypsy to see him.
Now, you may be thinking, this is great! The neurologist figured it out, surely they will report their findings. Well, not exactly. The neurologist didn't follow up with reporting Dee Dee to social services. He says that he was told by other doctors that he had to treat Dee Dee and Gypsy with “golden gloves” and he doubted that the authorities would believe him anyway. There was an anonymous caller that told the police about Dee Dee's use of different names and birth dates for her and her daughter, and suggested that Gypsy was in better health than claimed. Officers performed a wellness check, but it didn't go how you may expect. Dee Dee was able to explain everything away. She claimed that she used the misinformation to make it harder for her abusive ex-husband to find her and Gypsy. The officers didn't follow up with Rod to see if the story was correct. They reported that Gypsy seemed to be mentally handicapped and the file was closed.
There was a lot of confusion around Gypsy's real age as she was growing up. Dee Dee seemed to have at least one forged copy of her daughter's birth certificate, moving her birth date to 1995 to match her claims that she was still a teenager. Dee Dee claimed that the original birth certificate was destroyed in the Hurricane Katrina flooding. She did actually have a copy with Gypsy's real birth date. Gypsy ended up seeing it during one of her hospital visits and became very confused. Dee Dee assured her daughter that it was just a misprint, nothing to worry about.
In 2001, Gypsy began attending science fiction and fantasy conventions, sometimes in costume. Even in her wheelchair, Gypsy felt that she could blend in at these events. While attending one of these events in 2011, Gypsy attempted to escape, but her mother found her in a hotel room with a man she had met online. Dee Dee showed the man the fake birth certificate with a younger birth date and threatened to contact the police. After this incident, Dee Dee smashed Gypsy's computer with a hammer and threatened to smash her fingers if she ever tried to escape again. She also put a leash on Gypsy and handcuffed her to her bed for two weeks. Dee Dee told Gypsy that she filed paperwork with the police claiming that Gypsy was mentally incompetent. Gypsy was lead to believe that if she attempted to go to the police for help, they wouldn't believe her.
During the year of 2012, Gypsy got brave enough to use the internet again, but this time, it was when her mother went to bed. She met a man online named Nicholas Godejohn from Big Bend, Wisconsin. They met on a Christian singles group. Nicholas had some issues of his own. He had a criminal record for indecent exposure and a history of mental illness which has been stated as either dissociative identity disorder or autism.
In 2014, Gypsy and Nicholas were still talking and Gypsy confided in her 23-year-old neighbor, that they planned on eloping and had picked out names for their potential children. Gypsy had five separate Facebook accounts and was flirting online with Nicholas. Their exchanges sometimes used BDSM elements aka erotic roleplaying. Gypsy's neighbor had no idea that the two were so close in age and still believed that Gypsy was a young teen so she attempted to talk her out of the marriage. In 2015 Gypsy cooked up a plan and paid for Nicholas to meet her mother in Springfield. Her plan was for him to casually bump into her while she was at the movie theater with her mother. They would both be wearing costumes and would use that to have something in common to talk about. While they were at the theater, Gypsy lead Nicholas to the bathroom and they had sex. The two continued talking on the internet and soon, they began developing a plan to kill Dee Dee.
Nicholas went back to Springfield in June 2015. The plan was for him to arrive while Gypsy and Dee Dee were away at a doctor's appointment. Nicholas waited for the pair to arrive home and he headed to the house once Dee Dee went to sleep. Gypsy let Nicholas in the home, gave him duct tape, gloves and a knife. Gypsy hid in the bathroom and covered her ears so she wouldn't hear her mother screaming. Nicholas stabbed Dee Dee several times in the back while she was asleep. Then, Nicholas and Gypsy went to Gypsy's room and had sex, took $4k from the house and fled to a motel. The couple didn't want to get caught with the murder weapon so they came up with a very logical plan. They mailed the murder weapon back to Nicholas' home and then they got on a bus and headed to his place........
Some neighbors notified the police after reading some concerning posts on Dee Dee's Facebook account. The neighbors attempted to call the house, but couldn't get through to anyone. The neighbors were well aware that Dee Dee and Gypsy often went on unannounced medical trips, but they knew that wasn't the case this time. Dee Dee's Nissan Cube that was modified for Gypsy's wheelchair was still in the driveway. The neighbors did swing by the house, but they couldn't see because there was a protective film on the windows. The police had to wait for a search warrant to be issued before they were allowed to enter the home. Upon entering, they noticed that the house was pretty much undisturbed and Gypsy's wheelchairs were left behind.
On June 14th, 2015, the body of Dee Dee Blanchard was discovered face down in her bedroom by police. She was lying on the bed in a pool of blood from stab wounds that had been inflicted several days earlier. There was no sign of her daughter, Gypsy Rose, who, according to Dee Dee, suffered from Leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy, along with several other chronic conditions and had the “mental capacity of a 7-year-old due to brain damage that she suffered as a result of her premature birth. A GoFundMe account was set up to pay for Dee Dee's funeral expenses and possibly Gypsy's. People that knew the family believed that Gypsy would be helpless without her wheelchair, medications, oxygen tanks, and feeding tube. They thought that she may have been kidnapped when her mother was murdered.
Many people in the town were gathered around the home as it was being searched. The young neighbor that Gypsy had previously confided in was there. She let police know about Gypsy's online secret boyfriend and showed them printouts that she had saved which included his name. Police had Facebook trace the IP address to see where the posts to Dee Dee's account had been made. The posts were coming from Wisconsin. Then next day, Wisconsin police raided the Godejohns' home and both Nicholas and Gypsy were taken into custody on charges of murder and felony armed criminal action.
People back in Springfield were SO relieved that Gypsy was safe and both she and Nicholas were extradited back there and held on $1M bond. The Greene County sheriff, Jim Arnott, announced the news, but did warn, quote “things are not always what they appear.” End quote. Gypsy wasn't the same girl that went missing. Rather than a bald, thin, wheelchair-bound cancer patient, the police found a strong young woman, that could walk and eat on her own.
The media soon started reporting that Gyps was never sick and was forced to pretend that she couldn't walk. Sheriff Jim Arnott was urging people to stop donating money to the family until investigators could look into things further to examine the extent of the fraud.
This case got really confusing for a lot of people. How are you supposed to feel? Dee Dee treated Gypsy terribly for many years. It's easy to have sympathy for her as the victim, but she was part of a murder. County prosecutor Dan Patterson announced that this case was quote “extraordinary and unusual.” End quote. He decided that he wouldn't seek the death penalty for Gypsy or Nicholas. After the attorney obtained medical records from Louisiana for Gypsy, he was able to get a plea bargain to second-degree murder and she accepted and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Gypsy was so undernourished that she gained 14 pounds during her first year in prison.
Since Nicholas actually killed Dee Dee and initiated the murder plot, he faced the more severe charge. Gypsy's plea bargain didn't require her to testify against Nicholas. In January 2017, the trial was postponed because prosecutors requested a psychiatric exam. His lawyers were stating that he had diminished capacity and was on the autism spectrum.
The trial began in November 2018 and prosecutors alleged that Nicholas had planned the murder for over a year. His lawyers pointed out his autism and said Gypsy came up with the plan and Nicholas followed through because he was so in love with her. The jurors were showed a series of text messages, some were sexually explicit. Nicholas asked for details about Dee Dee's room and her sleeping habits. Gypsy did end up testifying and she agreed that she suggested that her mother be killed to end her abuse. She also thought she could get pregnant by Nicholas and this would force Dee Dee to accept him. During a shopping trip to Walmart, Gypsy stole baby clothes in case they went ahead with this plan.
It took the jurors just two hours of deliberation and they returned with their verdict. Nicholas was found guilty of first degree murder and armed criminal action. He was sentenced to life in prison. His lawyer did try to get a new trial, but this was denied. The lawyer argued that the jury shouldn't have been allowed to hear that Nicholas considered raping Dee Dee on the night of the murder and he also didn't like that the state's psychologist WAS allowed to testify, but Nicholas' psychologist couldn't.
As you may have guessed, this murder significantly effected the community. Neighbors had looked out for Dee Dee and Gypsy and now they realized they had been deceived. They wondered if the mother and daughter would secretly laugh behind closed doors at how easy it was to dupe everyone. Dee Dee's family in Louisiana, didn't seem to be that upset about her death. They felt that she deserved her fate and Gypsy had already received enough punishment. They refused to pay for funeral expenses and didn't even pick up Dee Dee's ashes. Ultimately, her father and stepmother flushed the ashes down the toilet.
WHERE IS GYPSY NOW
Gypsy is serving her time and says, quote “I feel like I'm more free in prison, than with living with my mom. Because now, I'm allowed to just live like a normal woman.” End quote. Gypsy told BuzzFeed reporter Michelle Dean that she was able to research Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy on prison computers and her mother had every symptom. Gypsy always believed that doctors would see through all the lies and stop doing treatments, but that clearly didn't happen. Symptoms of Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy in a caregiver can include: attention-seeking behavior, striving to appear self sacrificing and devoted, becoming overly involved with doctors or medical staff, refusing to leave the child's side, exaggerating the child's symptoms or even speaking for them, and appearing to actually enjoy the hospital environment and the attention that the child is receiving. Some warning signs that you could see in a child is a history of repeated injuries, illness, or hospitalizations, symptoms that don't seem to match the actual disease, symptoms that don't match the test results and symptoms that seem to magically improve under medical care, but get worse when they go home.
Gypsy has been criticized over the years as people wonder why she had taken things so far to have her mother killed. If she could walk, why didn't she simply stand up in public and expose Dee Dee's lies? Gypsy was conditioned to think that no one would believe her and her mother was abusive. She didn't know how her mother would react or how other people would either. She didn't trust anyone. She was essentially holding her hostage and controlling every aspect of her life.
It wasn't until after Dee Dee's murder that Gypsy even realized the extent of her mother's lies. She of course, knew all along that she could walk and eat regular food, but she did believe that she actually had leukemia. Today, Gypsy is healthy and more free in prison than she ever was with her mother. Dr. Phil asked her if she was glad her mother was dead and she said, quote “I'm glad that I'm out of that situation, but I'm not happy she's dead.” End quote.
Gypsy and Nicholas are no longer together. She got engaged to a man named Ken in April 2019 and they met through her prison's pen pal program. The soonest that she could be released is in 2024 and she will be 32-years-old. Gypsy's father, Rod is back in her life and is fighting to get her better help. He started a petition to get her out of prison and says he would rather relocate her to a mental facility where she can get specialized help after all of the trauma she has endured.
So I went to facebook and I posted a question. Do you believe that Gypsy should be in jail? Do you think the murder was justified so Gypsy could survive? Or is she a master manipulator that should be locked up?
I got mixed responses on this. Some people said, hey, Gypsy is a master manipulator just like her mom, she is exactly where she should be. Some people thought, maybe it's a mixture of both. She was raised by a manipulator, so it only make sense that she has that in her too, but she should be locked up.
It was also brought up that she was mentally abused, but why didn't she just leave or go to the police? Why did she have to resort to murder?
Some people thought that she shouldn't get any jail time for this murder plot. She had been tortured her entire life, she doesn't deserve more torture. Maybe she should have gone to a mental hospital to cope with all of her childhood trauma.
The one that stuck out to me the most was this: quote, I think she should be in jail, but I also think her sentence should be shorter. Her mom was awful to her. If someone kidnapped her as a baby and did this to her, we would all be singing a different story. End quote.
Now, this was my thoughts exactly. Murder is wrong, duh. I think if Gypsy was being tortured by someone that wasn't her mother, this would be different and she wouldn't have even gone to jail for this. I also think it would be different if Gypsy would have killed her mom herself. I think it gets twisted when you find out that she got a boyfriend online and convinced him to do it. I also struggle with the fact that they had sex after her mom was murdered. Think about all the procedures Gypsy went through and all the medications that were forced down her throat. No matter what you believe, that stuff takes a toll on your body and she may end up with severe problems later on due to this.
Gypsy tried to escape her mother at one point and her mom let her know that she filed paperwork with the police stating that the was mentally incompetent. The police had even been to the home previously and believed Dee Dee. Why on earth would Gypsy believe that she could tell authorities that she needed help? She was already conditioned to believe that they wouldn't help her or buy her story.
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