By KAITLYN HENSON
Gypsy Rose Blanchard was convicted of second-degree murder of her mother on June 14th, 2015, when police found the corpse of Dee Dee Blanchard facedown in her bedroom, surrounded by a pool of blood. Gypsy’s online boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, was arrested of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison for armed criminal action. This tragic story leads the investigation to more concerning matters of the young girl’s life with her mom, and their neighbor’s belief to Gypsy had fallen victim to crime and foul play.
In early childhood, Dee Dee Blanchard claimed that her daughter suffered from numerous medical conditions such as asthma, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, sleep apnea, and many others. She also claimed that Gypsy was mentally challenged, was paralyzed from the waist down, and had brain damage due to premature birth. But doctors who had before examined Gypsy later say that there were no records of these chronic conditions Dee Dee claimed that her daughter had. The mom passing as having Munchausen syndrome by proxy (a mental condition in which a parent or guardian fakes/exaggerates a child’s illness to gain sympathy and praise) made most of her worth through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and Habitat For Humanity.
Gypsy claims that she was abused by her mom whenever she didn’t act the way Dee Dee wanted her to, including smashing her computer using a hammer and threatening to do the same with Gyspy’s fingers and tying her up to the bed for 2 weeks, “She physically chained me to the bed and put bells on the doors and told anybody that I probably would have trusted that I was going through a phase and to tell her if I was doing anything behind her back,” Gypsy explained while in handcuffs. Many times Gypsy was hit with a coat hanger and was forced to sit in a wheelchair for most of her life, though she was fully aware that she could walk. She was also given several medications she didn’t need, was fed through a feeding tube, and even had surgeries done on her many times by doctors. Gypsy also explains that her mother would put food in the feeding tube while she was asleep, so she had no idea what Dee Dee was feeding her on a daily basis. Yet, at the time, young Gypsy Rose thought that this was a normal life for her and her mom.
Dee Dee’s ex-husband, Rod Blanchard, states in Dee Dee’s case, “You can call it Munchausen by proxy or whatever, but you can’t keep somebody like that all their lives. It’s just part of nature, to want to be free. If you think you can manipulate someone all their lives and for them not to bite back at one point when they had enough, then you’re completely mistaken. I think she asked for what she got,” Blanchard said to Fox News. The couple’s relationship was so harsh that Gypsy barely had any contact with her father, thanks to Dee Dee’s manipulation through lying to Gypsy and their neighbors that the dad was abusive. Yet Rod still continued to try and form some sort of relationship with his daughter, such as attempting to call on her birthday.
Before the murder incident, the mother and child were already known throughout social media and through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and was granted a free trip to Disney World after the disastrous Hurricane Katrina that occurred in 2005. They were even given a custom-made home for a wheelchair built by Habitat For Humanity.
Throughout Gypsy’s teen years, however, she began to realize that she wasn’t actually sick, but that her mom was controlling her to the point where Gypsy actually believed that she had all these deadly illnesses. She was, in fact, a very normal person. This really affected the relationship Gypsy had with her mother, especially when she found out she was really a grown woman in her 20’s and not a child.
It came to the point where Gypsy wanted to find her “prince charming” and find love. She managed to create a Facebook account behind her mother’s back and first attempted to escape with a man she met online. Dee Dee went out and threatened to call the police on him for kidnapping and molesting a child; she even told the police that Gypsy was mentally incompetent so Gypsy couldn’t trust going to the police of her mother’s abuse.
In 2012 however, Gypsy met another man online named Nicholas Godejohn, someone who was around her age and had talked to on numerous occasions. They met on a Christain singles website and flirted with each other romantically for quite some time, despite Nicholas having some personal issues himself, with a criminal record of indecent exposure and claiming to have a dissociative identity disorder or autism.
When the two finally met in person, they both went to the movies, sneaked into a bathroom, and had sexual contact. Gypsy, unsure of this relationship with Nick, however, still continued her online relationship with him, leading to the idea of how to kill Dee Dee Blanchard.
When the time was ready, Nick came to Gypsy’s house in June of 2015, allowed him in while Dee Dee was still asleep, and she handed him duct tape and a knife. After that, Gypsy hid in the bathroom as Nick stabbed her mother several times in the back. They afterward continued to have sexual contact and then fled to a motel with the hope that they wouldn’t be caught. Nick went onto Gypsy’s Facebook page and posted two statements on it, claiming that Dee Dee was dead and that Gypsy was raped. Neighbors later called the police, where they found the mother’s dead body and the daughter gone without her wheelchair.
Gypsy and Nick were found in Wisconsin a few days later and surrendered, taken for custody of murder and armed criminal action. People were relieved that the daughter was okay, but were later told the true story of what was going on at the Blanchard household. They found out that Gypsy wasn’t sick, didn’t need a wheelchair, could stand up and walk just fine, and that her mother forced her to pretend to be sick and was physically abused. Sympathy for Gypsy was later brought on, as she was considered a victim of child abuse. The prosecutor of the investigation claimed that this case was “extraordinary and unusual”. In July of 2015 Gypsy Rose Blanchard was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Nicholas Godejohn was considered the one who actually killed Dee Dee, and was later found out to have an IQ of 82 and was on the autism spectrum. But in February of 2019, he was actually sentenced to life in prison after prosecutors denied the death penalty.
Gypsy now is living a peaceful life in prison, finally getting the education she’d been lacking for more than a decade, stating, “I feel like I’m freer in prison, than with living with my mom. Because now, I’m allowed to…just live like a normal woman.” She admits to the crime she did and wishes to this day that her mother was still alive. Now Gypsy is eager to support other abused victims, especially victims of parents/guardians with Munchausen syndrome by proxy.