Have you ever heard of the death of Dee Dee Blanchard? Maybe the life of the disabled Gypsy Rose? You have heard of Munchausen by Proxy, right?
Well, get ready for a ride. I’m going to tell you a little about this family and go into some details from the documentary.
The picture to the left is of Gypsy, and her mother, Dee Dee. At first glance, you will probably look at Gypsy and think that there is something wrong with her. I mean, she looks like a young girl with no hair, some dental issues, squinting behind her glasses, with a large grin on her face, holding onto her teddy bear. She looks to be about 10 in this picture, in reality, she was likely a teenager, unbeknownst to even her. How is this possible? Well, that’s exactly why we are here.
“Factitious disorder imposed on another (formerly factitious disorder by proxy) has as its cardinal characteristic the production or feigning of physical or psychological symptoms in another person, usually a child or adult under the care of the person with the disorder. It is currently understood as including the condition commonly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP).” –Medscape.
For this post, I will just refer to it as Munchausen by Proxy or MSBP.
This is what Dee Dee “suffered” from, while Gypsy was the victim of her mother’s disorder. For most of Gypsy’s life, Dee Dee made it so doctors were diagnosing her daughter with many medical problems, or she was just making them up herself. She did this by fabricating symptoms, giving her daughter medications to cause symptoms of other problems, doctor hopping, and directing Gypsy to act a certain way.
There are different reasons and theories as to why people feel the need to make their children sick and request risky procedures be performed on the people they love. Some do it for financial gain, which I believe is a disorder of a different name, but many do it for the attention and the sympathy.
Dee Dee is included in the majority. Apparently, the pair was displaced after Hurricane Katrina, had to stay in emergency special needs housing, and eventually moved into a house built for them by Habitat for Humanity. There were online crowdfunding websites and television appearances revolving around Gypsy’s medical issues and her positive outlook on life. This probably fed right into Dee Dee’s desire for attention, what it seems she wanted from her daughter’s “diseases”.
Speaking of, what problems did Gypsy actually have, and what did her mother tell doctors, friends, and strangers? It turns out Gypsy didn’t seem to have any real problems… at least none that we know of. However, in the documentary, after being asked what diagnoses she had, Gypsy couldn’t even remember all of them! Imagine having so many fake medical conditions that you can’t even keep up with them. The filmmakers did show a list of her falsified conditions (seen to your right), and discussed how Dee Dee was able to convince doctors and others of these conditions. Even her father, Rod, had no idea that these diagnoses were made up, but did have his suspicions of his ex-wife. He lived in another state, but paid child support and helped with medical treatments even after she turned 18. Rod called Gypsy on her 18th birthday, but Dee Dee told him before he could speak to his daughter that she thought she was 14, and he can’t tell her any different.
How did Gypsy not know that she didn’t actually suffer from these conditions? Dee Dee was good. She shaved her daughter’s head and told her that they needed to do it now, because the Leukemia medications were going to make her hair fall out anyway. When she would go to the doctor, she would do the talking for Gypsy, and even told her not to move her legs when the doctor came in.
An enormous amount of people helped them because of her conditions and showed so much sympathy, that there is no way she would have thought any differently. She even says in the documentary that she “went on blind faith that a mother knows best”, just like all children do. I would never have thought that my mom was making up my illnesses, because that just sounds crazy.
Somehow, this story gets even more interesting. On June 14th 2015, Dee Dee was found stabbed to death in her bedroom after many people found a concerning Facebook status on the page that they shared. It said “That Bitch is dead!” The comments include concern, ideas that maybe the page was hacked, requests for neighbors to check on her, and a comment from the Dee Gyp Blancharde profile itself: “I fucken SLASHED THAT FAT PIG AND RAPED HER SWEET INNOCENT DAUGHTER…HER SCREAM WAS SOOOO FUCKEN LOUD LOL”. No one knows who would have done this, but it was apparent that Gypsy was not there. Let’s fast forward to what we know now.
Gypsy had a boyfriend, but no one knew about him. His name was Nicholas Godejohn, they met on a Christian dating site, and he was 26 years old. Their relationship was mostly online, but quickly became sexual, as Godejohn was interested in BDSM. In addition, he claimed to have multiple personalities, and told Gypsy he would like each of his personalities to have a girlfriend as well. She opened up to him, and they discussed murdering her mother. She ended up agreeing, and the plan was set. He traveled to Missouri from Wisconsin so he could murder Dee Dee and be with his girlfriend. According to Gypsy, she had to make “a deal” with Nicholas. He previously stated he wanted to rape Dee Dee, but she said that she let him rape her instead, so he wouldn’t do that to her mother’s dead body.
So, he stabbed his girlfriend’s mother to death, allegedly raped his girlfriend, mailed the knife to his Wisconsin home, and then the he and Gypsy ran off to Wisconsin.
If there is anything you think is a joke in this post… it isn’t. This story is just that insane.
The couple was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
In July of 2016, Gypsy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She didn’t get a longer sentence, because the judge took her lifetime of abuse into account, which I absolutely believe is a fair judgment. As of May of 2017, Godejohn’s case is still moving through the court system, according to News-Leader. I foresee Nicholas receiving a much longer sentence after being found guilty of first-degree murder.
If you want to know more about this fascinating case, you can listen to Episode 6 of the Wine & Crime Podcast, Episode 47 of the podcast My Favorite Murder, and of course you can watch the new HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest.