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Murder of Dee Dee Blanchard : Death of A Mother At The Hands of Her Own Daughter


(Last Updated On: March 9, 2020)

On the 14th of June, 2015, some people in Greene County, Missouri were alarmed upon seeing a Facebook post. It read, “That bitch is dead!”. The account was a joint one belonging to a mother and her severely sick daughter. No wonder the people got suspicious and notified the police. On getting a search warrant, the police entered the pink little house which was built by Humanitarian aid. They found the mother, Dee Dee Blanchard lying prone on her bed with multiple stab wounds. Her wheelchair-bound daughter, Gypsy Rose was nowhere to be found. Finding the wheelchair still at the house-made people to think that she was abducted. All this turned around when the police located a healthy, properly walking Gypsy the next day in Wisconsin along with a guy named Nicholas Godejohn. The story that came forward, later on, left people open-mouthed.

 

Early life of Dee Dee and the birth of her daughter

Dee Dee Blanchard

Dee Dee was born as Clauddine Pitre in Chackbay, Louisiana. She grew up with her five siblings in Golden Meadow. She was caught many times for petty thefts during her childhood. She used to indulge in stealing whenever things wouldn’t go her way. Her family members were always suspicious about her and even believe that she killed her own mother by denying her food.

She got pregnant with Gypsy Rose when she was 24. The father, Rod Blanchard who was seven years younger, left the family never to return. Dee Dee tried to make Rod come back but to no avail. She then took her daughter and went to live with her family. Rod made it a point though to send an allowance frequently to Dee Dee.

 

The mother begins to control the daughter’s life

Mother begins to control the daughter's life - dee-dee-gypsy-rose-blanchard

Right from when Gypsy was an infant, Dee Dee used to take her to multiple hospital visits. She was sure that the baby suffered from sleep apnea and this lead to overnight stays at the hospital many times. She even believed that Gypsy had a major chromosomal disorder, though all the tests were normal. When Gypsy was 7 or 8 years old and got bruised after falling from her grandfather’s motorcycle, Dee Dee made it look like it was a major injury and confined Gypsy to a wheelchair thereafter.

Gypsy was made to drop out after second grade and then homeschooled. Dee Dee’s father had remarried when Dee Dee had moved in with him. During this period her stepmother was mysteriously getting ill. Her father suspected Dee Dee of poisoning the food with a weed killer. He also was suspicious about the way Dee Dee was treating Gypsy. Unable to confront all of this, Dee Dee moved out and the stepmother’s health improved soon after.
Dee Dee and her daughter moved to Slidell, where they started living in public housing. Even now Dee Dee would take Gypsy to hospital and make her go through unnecessary biopsies stating that she had Muscular dystrophy. She made her take anti-seizure medications regularly. Tubes were put in Gypsy’s nose and ear to drain out nonexistent infections. She was quite frequently taken to the emergency room even for the smallest discomfort.

All this made Gypsy appear younger than she actually was. The unnecessary medications made her teeth to blacken and fall out. Her mother regularly shaved her head to make it appear as if her hair was falling out. She was made to cover her head with hats or wigs. She fed her with baby food way into her teenage years. She even forged Gypsy’s birth certificate and health records to claim monetary aid. And if Gypsy tried to retaliate, she’d physically abuse her into submission. Gypsy later recalled her mother tightly squeezing her and hitting her with hands and coat hangers.

The duo gain limelight

Gypsy Rose Blanchard

Such a rare case of an extremely sick child suffering from muscular dystrophy, leukemia, asthma, and many other chronic conditions and her caring mother quickly gained the following. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed their rented place, they were even flown out to Missouri. The Habitat for humanity built them their own house near Springfield complete with a wheelchair ramp and a hot tub. They got free flights to visit doctors in various places. They time and again got free passes to Disneyland and many music concerts via Make a wish foundation.

Gypsy was even named as the honorary queen of the Krewe of Mid-city which was a children’s parade held during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Nobody ever got a doubt that this was all a hoax by looking at the charming little girl with her toothless grin. She was made to wear large spectacles and always talked in a childlike voice. They always got overwhelming support wherever they went. Dee Dee was described by many people as someone who was easy to be friends with. She’d always have a smile on her face, made it a point to listen to other’s problems and was even generous enough to lend money.

Full of fabrications

Dee Dee never allowed Rod to visit, always making some of the other excuses. She had told her neighbor’s false stories about Rod that he was abusive, an alcoholic and a drug addict. She even lied that he never sent any money for child care.

There was only one doctor in Springfield, Dr. Flasterstein who got suspicious at the history given by the mother. The previous hospital records were lost in the hurricane and all the present tests came out to be normal. He even found that Gypsy could walk on her own when asked to. He was almost sure that this was a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy but never reported it because the mother already had a lot of backing and support.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a type of mental illness leading to child abuse. In most of the cases, the patient is a mother who makes up illnesses that her child is suffering from. They may go to the extent of creating symptoms by hurting the child. The main reason underlying this illness might be the need for attention by the patient.

Gypsy couldn’t take it anymore

Gypsy loved going to science and fantasy conventions. It was after one such convention in 2011 that she tried to escape. But her mother managed to find her that too with a man in a hotel room. She convinced the man about Gypsy’s disorders by producing documents. After this Gypsy was tied to her bed with handcuffs for almost two weeks as a punishment.

Around 2012, Gypsy started to go online secretly whenever her mother was asleep but when Dee Dee found out about this, she broke her laptop and phone. In 2014, Gypsy started using multiple fake Facebook accounts because her mother would always keep an eye on their joint account. She ended up befriending one guy on a Christian dating site. Nicholas was around Gypsy’s age, had a criminal record of indecent exposure and even had a history of mental illness.

Gypsy started confiding in Nicholas about her helpless condition. She suggested that he come and murder her mother so that they could run away together. She even sent money to him to travel to her home. Nicholas took all of it seriously and came to Gypsy’s home one night when Dee Dee had gone out. Gypsy handed him a knife, showed him her mother’s bedroom and later went to hide in the bathroom because she didn’t want to hear her mother’s screams. When Dee Dee later returned and went to sleep, Nicholas stabbed her repeatedly leaving her to die on her own bed.
Gypsy and Nicholas then took whatever money was left in the house and ran away to a motel on the outskirts of Springfield. They decided to stay here for a while before they could plan their next step. They thought that they’d managed to get away with this crime.

Getting caught and trial

The Story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard - Jail Sentence

The police were able to trace Gypsy easily because she had mailed the murder weapon to Nicholas’ address. Also, one neighbor in whom Gypsy had confided about Nicholas had maintained all the chat records and provided the police with copies of it. They were even seen together on security cameras at several stores and by witnesses during transport.

When the truth came to light, all those who knew Dee Dee and Gypsy were shocked. First, they were horrified at the murder of Dee Dee but when they learned of the years of abuse Gypsy had to suffer, they began to sympathize with her.

Gypsy Rose was accused of second-degree murder. Her hospital records and years of abuse allowed her to ask for a plea bargain and she was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in 2015. Nicholas Godejohn was accused of first-degree murder and after many trials, sentenced to life imprisonment in 2019.

 

Present-day

Gypsy has given many interviews thereafter where she said that she’s happier now even though she is in prison because she at least has the freedom to talk with others and eat properly. She said she gained weight in prison rather than losing it thus showing how badly she had been treated by her mother.

The documentary, Mommy Dead and Dearest, talks about this murder case and Munchausen syndrome by proxy. One of the episodes of Dr. Phil on CBS had Gypsy, her father, and stepmother for interviews. The Netflix TV show, The Politician has characters based on this incident. There has been mention of this mind-boggling story in various magazines and crime TV shows.

 

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