The True Story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard
"Everything she told me was a lie, so how could I believe her when she told me she loved me?"
The pink house on the end of Volunteer Way looked like a fairy-tale on the outside. Baby blue birdhouses and a vibrant "Welcome!" flag adorned the porch that connected to a custom-built wheelchair accessible ramp. But, the fairy-tale outside didn't match the tumultuous environment inside. Gypsy Rose Blanchard lived in that house with her mother, Claudinea "Dee Dee" Blanchard. Since Gypsy was eight-years-old, her medical history read like an overdue laundry list: leukemia, muscular dystrophy, paraplegia, epilepsy, with hearing, vision, and cognitive impairments. Gypsy also had a sugar allergy and needed a feeding tube. Her mother was her sole caretaker.
Traumatizing hospital visits defined Gypsy's young adult life. Not counting her stuffed animals, her mother was her only friend.
It seemed that Gypsy would live a short life plagued with illness. Nothing in the world would make her well again. That is, until one day, the performance was up, and the fairy-tale ended. Dee Dee's body was found stabbed to death in their home, and Gypsy, supposedly paraplegic, walked into the courtroom days later on trial for her mother's murder. To everyone's disbelief, Gypsy was perfectly healthy - the laundry list of illnesses was a sham.
What happened during those years in that perfect pink house that lead to Gypsy planning to kill her mother? If Gypsy could walk, what else was a lie? Was she really the victim here?
Let's look at the sheet.
Dee Dee suffers from Munchausen by Proxy
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Munchausen by Proxy (MSBP) is a mental disorder where a caretaker makes up or causes an illness to an individual under their care. It is important to note that because vulnerable people like children or the elderly are the victims, MSBP is a form of child or elder abuse.
Most of the MSBP cases occur between a mother and child - just like in this situation between Dee Dee and Gypsy.
The caregiver with MSBP is prone to lying about the victim's symptoms, changing medical information or test results to reflect an illness. In severe cases, the caregiver may even harm the child to produce symptoms.
At the impressionable age of 8, Dee Dee told Gypsy she'd need a walker for the rest of her life. That walker was eventually traded for a more confining wheelchair. Around the same time, Gypsy had her salivary glands removed and a feeding tube inserted. When Dee Dee told Gypsy she had leukemia, Dee Dee began shaving her daughter's head periodically because "It's going to fall out anyway; why not make it look nice and neat?"
You may be asking yourself, How come Gypsy never questioned her own medical history? The unfortunate answer is that Dee Dee had complete control over Gypsy's reality; she was too young to believe anything otherwise.
Your mother is supposed to be the person who loves and protects you while keeping you safe at all costs. Gypsy must have been thinking, My mom cares for me so much, I'm so lucky to have her. The veil of lies was too thick to see through.
Gypsy, over time, unravels her mother's deceptions, and the abuse escalates to unimaginable heights
Dee Dee lied straight through her teeth when she used to tell Gypsy about her father. In Gypsy's interview with Dr. Phil in 2017, she said, "My mother used to tell me, 'He abandoned us. He's living life with his new family now; he doesn't love you.'" All the while, he was trying to contact the family and sent monthly child support checks for $1,200.
Dee Dee pocketed every cent.
Gypsy realized she didn't need her feeding tube and she didn't have a sugar allergy because she would secretly scour their kitchen after Dee Dee went to sleep. This behavior is also why Gypsy needed her teeth extracted, in part because of her salivary glands were removed - thanks to mom - so her teeth had minimal protection against the sugar.
Worst of all, Dee Dee fabricated Gypsy's age. Dee Dee said she was born in 1995, and no one questioned it. Hurricane Katrina destroyed their official documents, so Dee Dee sieged the opportunity to falsify Gypsy's age to gain four more years of Medical Charity Assistance. By the time Gypsy was in her late teens/early twenties, her curiosity had gotten the best of her. Gypsy broke into her mother's safe, and found bits of paper detailing that she was actually born in 1991. That evening, Gypsy took the documents and ran away from home to a friend's house for four hours until her mother found her. In court in 2018, Gypsy detailed that night saying the following:
"She dragged me back home and smashed my laptop with a hammer screaming, 'If you contact anyone else ever again, I'm going to take the hammer to your fingers next time!' Then, my mom put me in handcuffs and tied me to the bed with a dog leash. She put a bell on the door so she'd hear me if I tried to escape. I was tied for two weeks."
How can someone do this to their child?
"The Princess" meets her "Prince"
Gypsy, vulnerable and impressionable, signs up for a free Christian Dating site in late 2012. It is there where she meets Wisconsin man Nicholas Godejohn in October. The pair spill all of their secrets to one another: Gypsy confides in him that she's not sick and that her mother has been using her as a cash-cow. Nick reveals that he believes he has Dissociative Identity Disorder, where he has a 500-year-old Vampire alter, "Victor", that enjoys BDSM.
Their online relationship remains a secret for three years because, in Gypsy's words, "My mother would never allow me to have a boyfriend. She controlled every aspect of my life."
Since Gypsy's blinded love for Nick was so intoxicating, but her mother so controlling, they devised three plans to make sure that they could be together.
Plan A: Meet "organically" at a movie theater near Gypsy.
Plan B: Murder Dee Dee.
Plan C: Gypsy would get pregnant with Nick as the father.
The plans weren't in chronological order. They tried both Plan A and C at the same time when Nick took a bus to Springfield and dressed up as Prince Charming to a Cinderella movie the Blanchards were seeing. Gypsy believed that by having both of them dressed up, Dee Dee would see the magic in it, and allow them to be together. But, Dee Dee was disgusted by Nick - probably believing he was a creep. Gypsy and Nick eventually slipped out of the theater and had sex in a bathroom.
Both Plan A and C didn't work, but Gypsy wanted to hold out on murder so they kept trying for a child. The problem was, they lived far away from one another, and their number of sexual encounters could be counted on one hand. Gypsy eventually began believing that murder was the only way she could break free from her mother's grasp. Nick's alter, “Victor”, persuaded her to let him kill Dee Dee. Gypsy is quoted at Nick's trial in 2018 saying:
"If it weren't for Nick and how dark he was, I wouldn't have gone through with it."
Nick wanted "the Deed," as he called it, to be done with a machete. However, Gypsy was headstrong about calling the shots. After all, it was her mother they were planning to kill.
"I planned this murder."
Gypsy said at Nick's trial. She explained, under oath, how a tasteless and odorless poison was too hard to find, that arson would be too complicated, and a gun would be too messy. Instead of a machete, Gypsy stole a hunting knife from a Walmart. She mailed Nick more than a thousand dollars that she stole from Dee Dee. He was to purchase a round-trip bus ticket for himself, and a one-way for Gypsy to join him back in Wisconsin. The rest of the money was for food and a room at a nearby Days-Inn Hotel.
About a week before the murder, Nick texted Gypsy requesting that when they met after "the Deed," he wanted her nails and lips painted red. She responded that she didn't have that color, and they both settled for pink. This playful and sexual request shows me how twisted their mindsets really were. In another message, Nick suggests that she is naked when he goes to see her. It's almost as if the two didn't even understand the gravity of what they were doing. It was all going to be rainbows and sunshine when they'd finally be together.
On June 10th, 2015, the night of the murder, Gypsy laid out medical gloves and the knife for "Victor" to use. She stayed in her wheelchair locked in the bathroom with her ears plugged because she didn't want to hear her mother calling from the next room. Gypsy recalled those moments in court saying:
"She was screaming out for me by name, but I never did anything. I didn't want to move."
Gypsy's reluctance to take part in her mother's murder shows me that she didn't really want her mother dead; she just wanted the abuse and the medical stories to stop. But, in her mind, killing was the only solution.
Nicholas Godejohn stabbed Dee Dee Blanchard a total of 17 times, cutting her neck down to the bone.
The couple had sex in Gypsy's room across the hall, and they left the house around 6 AM the following morning.
Life after Dee Dee
Wisconsin Police arrested Gypsy and Nick at his parent's home a few days after Gypsy posted graphic messages from her mother's Facebook page. Gypsy didn't want Dee Dee's body to be left undiscovered, so the posts were calls for attention.
Gypsy is currently carrying out a 10-year sentence for second-degree murder for her involvement in her mother's killing. Ron Blanchard, Gypsy's father, recently said to journalists, "And that if she had a choice to either be in jail, or back with her mom, she would rather be in jail." That is the closest we will ever get to understanding the personal hell that Gypsy went through while living with Dee Dee. It was enough to drive her to killing.
As of April 12th, 2019, Gypsy is reported to be engaged to a Prison Pen-Pal. Her now fiance began writing to her after watching the HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest” which tells Gypsy's story. They've known each other for a year and a half, and Gypsy's family approves of him.
Overall, I believe it's fair to say that Gypsy was the victim of unimaginable abuse and psychological torture that in the end, drove her to "Plan B." In the 2017 Dr. Phil Interview, Gypsy finished by saying:
"[DeeDee] taught me how to be a good liar. I'm changing that. I'm trying to be a good person now."
All quotes and information from this post can be found from the following links:
Godejohn's Trial Day 3 Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avPWIpDznNs&t=486s
Godejohn's Trial Day 3 Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5hyc4CjW-k
Full Free Dr. Phil Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ScUQTKssQw
Further information on MSBP: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw180537