Spoiler alert: Do not read this story directly before going on a date or falling asleep. If you’ve ever worried about the safety of online dating, this tale of murder will fan th… Read More
Curious about the saga of Gypsy Rose? Imagine a healthy adult being passed off as an ill, mentally disabled child and the mother who did this crime is found murdered.
If that sounds like the plot of a movie, then it is not surprising that the murderous tale of Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy Rose is now part of the series, “The Act”, on Hulu, as well as the HBO documentary entitled, “Mommy Dead and Dearest”. Wondering how much of “The Act” is accurate? Did Dee Dee claim that her daughter had seizures, muscular dystrophy, leukemia, and more?
Sadly, most everything in the new Hulu series (starring Joey King, Patricia Arquette, Calum Worthy, etc.) is based on real-life events. All of which cumulated in Dee Dee Blanchard being brutally murdered, but why? Why was Dee Dee Blanchard murdered and her ill daughter missing? Unless maybe Gypsy Rose was the murderer?
Dee Dee Blanchard, was the seemingly caring mother of a special needs child called Gypsy Rose. When Gypsy was a baby, Dee Dee worried – as new parents often do – that her daughter had sleep apnea.
Testing revealed that everything was fine, but Dee Dee became convinced that her daughter had some unspecified chromosomal disorder. She began watching her daughter tightly and, at age eight, Gypsy fell off her grandfather’s motorcycle.
Her only injury was a minor knee abrasion, and she was released from the hospital. However, Dee Dee has still convinced something was wrong and decided her daughter should be in a wheelchair until she had some surgery, so her “knee injury” wouldn’t be aggravated.
Dee Dee didn’t stop there. She began to take her daughter, Gypsy, to the hospital for treatment from other ailments – such as hearing and vision problems, or seizures. Tests revealed nothing, but she was still prescribed anti-seizure meds and pain pills.
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Dee Dee and Gypsy moved to Aurora, Missouri where they began to receive celebrity attention. Make A Wish Foundation and Habitat for Humanity were just 2 of the organizations which gave them help and tickets to events, etc. Meanwhile, a well-known neurologist, Bernardo Flasterstein offered his support to the mother-daughter pair, and was shocked when none of what Gypsy was diagnosed with showed up on tests!
Dee Dee made excuses, such as prior medical records having been lost in the hurricane, but Flasterstein was onto Dee Dee’s tricks and began to take action. He called doctors whose records had survived the storm and confirmed that Gypsy was a healthy child, which would mean that Dee Dee was the one who was ill.
The likely diagnosis?
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP), a disease when a caregiver creates the appearance of health problems in an otherwise healthy person. Gypsy was also beginning to catch on.
It was now 2010, and though Gypsy was being presented to the world at age 14, she was 19 and began plotting an escape. One night, she snuck out and went to a neighbor’s house, begging for help and a ride to the hospital, but her mother showed up and explained away her daughter’s pleas. Though Gypsy tried to gain independence, her mother would tell others that her daughter’s mind was riddled with disease, and her comments should be ignored.
The only window to the outside world that Gypsy could find was on the internet. She began to talk to men online, hoping someone would “rescue” her. Though Dee Dee threatened to smash Gypsy’s fingers in with a hammer, if she interacted with men, Gypsy persevered. At last, in 2012, Gypsy met Nicholas Godejohn.
He was 23 years old and from Wisconsin, with a history of mental illness. Once, when Gypsy was finally alone and away from her mother, the pair met and had sex, then began to plot Dee Dee’s murder through Facebook messages. The plan? Gypsy would let him inside the home, and he would end her mother’s life.
It finally happened in mid-June of 2015, as Gypsy listened at the door as her mother was stabbed to death by Godejohn. He and Gypsy fled the scene of the crime, headed in different directions on a Greyhound bus.
At first, neighbors worried that Gypsy had fallen victim to foul play and been kidnapped, but once police found Gypsy, they discovered a healthy woman walking comfortably, and the truth began to come out.
Gypsy Rose eventually confessed to her role in her mother’s murder, and experts and psychiatrists labeled her experience as child abuse. The public opinion had shifted to feel sympathy for what Gypsy endured, but as Gypsy has said, “murder is always wrong”.
Pleading guilty, she received a 10-year sentence in jail, which she feels is too long and leaves her unable to get the help she needs. However, she admits to feeling more free in prison than she ever was with her mother and is glad to be free of her. Her boyfriend pleaded “not guilty” but received life in prison.
If you’re like many people who have heard this story, you may feel shocked that no one caught on. However, there were red flags along the way. Dee Dee’s parents questioned the wheelchair Gypsy was in at age 8 and, when they did so, Dee Dee moved away and changed her name slightly.
Stories like this remind us how imperative it is to follow your intuition. Make sure that you follow through, and background checks anyone who comes into contact with your family or has a story or history that sounds too strange to be believed.
The shocking con Dee Dee had inflicted on herself, and her child ended when she was murdered in her home. Why would anyone kill a caring mother? Also, what had happened to her daughter? As police began to investigate, imagine their shock when they realized that Gypsy wasn’t ill and wheelchair, at all. She was healthy and could walk, but did this mean she was a murderer?