Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the woman who persuaded an online boyfriend to kill her mother after forcing her for years to pretend she had leukemia, muscular dystrophy and other serious illnesses, was released Thursday from prison on parole.
Blanchard’s story sparked national tabloid interest when first reports of her mother’s death emerged in 2015, but the bizarre case gained renewed attention when it became the subject of several series documentaries.
Here is an overview of the case and how it unfolded:
Who is Gypsy Rose Blanchard?
Gypsy Rose Blanchard was a Missouri woman who convinced her online boyfriend to kill her mother after suffering years of abuse.
At age 23, Blanchard had her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, killed after the mother essentially held her daughter prisoner, forcing her to use a wheelchair and a feeding tube.
It turned out that Gypsy Blanchard, now 32, was perfectly healthy and not developmentally delayed as her friends had always believed. Her mother suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder in which parents or guardians seek sympathy through their children’s exaggerated or invented illnesses, said her attorney, Michael Stanfield.
Gypsy Rose was subjected to years of unnecessary medical treatment and abuse, which she said during the trial caused her to suggest that Nicholas Godejohn, her then-boyfriend, should kill Dee Dee.
What happened to Gypsy Rose Blanchard?
Blanchard was taken to doctors throughout her life to receive treatment for illnesses such as leukemia and muscular dystrophy that she didn’t actually have. According to the Springfield News-Leader, Blanchard’s mother forced her to use both a wheelchair and an oxygen tank, even though she needed neither.
Stanfield said Gypsy Blanchard’s mother managed to fool doctors by telling them her daughter’s medical records were lost during Hurricane Katrina. If they asked too many questions, she would simply find a new doctor and shave the girl’s head to back up her story. Among the unnecessary procedures Gypsy Blanchard underwent was the removal of her salivary glands. Her mother convinced doctors it was necessary by using a topical anesthetic to induce the drooling.
“Essentially, Gypsy’s mother was holding her prisoner,” Stanfield said. “Her mother would not allow her to spend time alone with another human being. It was his mother, when they went to the doctor, who spoke.
Through this ruse, mother and daughter met country star Miranda Lambert and received charitable donations, a trip to Disney World and even a home near Springfield from Habitat for Humanity.
Gypsy Blanchard, who had little education and little contact with anyone other than her mother, was also misled, especially when she was younger, Stanfield said.
“The doctors seem to confirm everything you are told. The outside world tells you that your mother is a wonderful, loving and caring person. What other idea can you have? Stanfield said.
But then the abuse became more physical, Stanfield said. Gypsy testified that her mother beat her and chained her to a bed. Little by little, Gypsy also began to understand that she was not as sick as her mother said.
The truth about her condition – and the abuse she allegedly suffered – was suspected by some, but was not fully revealed until after her mother’s murder.
How did Blanchard’s mother die?
Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard was stabbed to death in June 2015 by Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, of Big Bend, Wisconsin.
Who was Nicolas Godejohn?
Gypsy Rose Blanchard said she met Godejohn on a Christian dating site in 2012 and that they had a secret relationship, including in text messages that prosecutors read during Godejohn’s trial.
Prosecutors argued that Godejohn plotted for more than a year before stabbing Clauddine Blanchard. His lawyers argued that he was autistic and therefore lacked the mental abilities required for premeditation.
Gypsy said she first met Godejohn in person in March 2015, when he visited Wisconsin. In text messages presented at his trial, Godejohn and Gypsy typically discussed love, sex and planning a life together — until June 2015, when they began discussing the need to have duct tape and knives a few days before the death of Clauddine Blanchard. Godejohn and Gypsy often referred to each other’s darker impulses, with Godejohn discussing his “evil side” which he said “likes to kill”. Gypsy’s darker side was referred to as “Ruby” in the texts.
Clauddine Blanchard’s body was found after her friends noticed a post on her Facebook page stating: “This (expletive) is dead.” »
When she took the stand at his trial, Gypsy Blanchard said, “I convinced him to do it.”
“Nick was so in love with her and so obsessed with her that he would do anything,” Godejohn’s lawyer, Dewayne Perry, argued in court, saying his client was autistic and had been manipulated.
Prosecutors, however, argued that he was motivated by sex and a desire to be with Gypsy Blanchard.
According to probable cause, Gypsy Blanchard provided the knife and hid in a bathroom while Godejohn stabbed her mother multiple times. The two men eventually took the bus to Wisconsin, where they were arrested.
“Things are not always as they seem,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott said as strange revelations began to emerge.
How long was Gypsy Rose Blanchard sentenced for and when was she released?
Prosecutors gave her a deal because of the abuse she suffered. In exchange for pleading guilty in 2016 to second-degree murder, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016. The first-degree murder charge she initially faced would have meant a life sentence .
Godejohn is currently serving a life sentence for his role in the murder.
Blanchard was released from the Chillicothe Correctional Center in Missouri on Thursday, three years before her original release date.
She served seven years and was released Thursday after being granted parole.
What is imposed-on-another factious disorder and Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
Inflicted disorder on another (FDIA), formerly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, occurs when a person falsely claims that another person has physical or psychological signs or symptoms of illness, or causes injury or illness in another person with the intent to deceive others, according to the Mayo Clinic.
This disorder usually involves a parent claiming their child needs medical attention that is actually unnecessary.
The disorder may be caused by a combination of psychological factors and stressful life experiences, including childhood trauma, serious childhood illness, loss of a loved one, or other conditions.
Munchausen syndrome is a mental health disorder in which you falsify, exaggerate, or induce physical, emotional, or cognitive impairment, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
What else do you need to know about this case?
Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson described it as “one of the most extraordinary and unusual cases we have seen.”
Stanfield remembers that the first time he met Gypsy, she was out of breath walking the 75 yards (69 yards) from the elevator to the room where he spoke to her. He described her as malnourished and physically frail.
“I can honestly say that I have rarely had a client who looked extremely better after serving a fairly long prison sentence,” Stanfield said. “Prison is generally not a place where you become happy and healthy. And I say that because, to me, it’s kind of a proof to the rest of the world of the seriousness of what Gypsy really lived.
Gypsy Blanchard later said that it was not until her arrest that she realized how healthy she was. But it took time. Eventually, she married while behind bars to Ryan Scott Anderson, now 37, of Saint Charles, Louisiana.
This bizarre case was the subject of the 2017 HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest,” the 2019 Hulu miniseries “The Act” and an upcoming Lifetime documentary series “The Prison Confession of Gypsy Rose Blanchard.” . Daytime television psychologist “Dr. Phil” McGraw interviewed her from prison. The novel “Darling Rose Gold” draws on the story for its premise, and Blanchard’s own account, “Released: Conversations on the Eve of Freedom” is scheduled to be published next month.