Munchausen by proxy is defined as when as caregiver who looks after a vulnerable person, fabricates or induces an illness, normally to receive positive attention for a God-like complex.
Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born in July of 1991 to Clauddine (Dee Dee) Blanchard and Rod Blanchard. Dee Dee had got pregnant by Rod when she was 24 and Rod was 17. Dee Dee and Rod separated not long before Gypsy was born and the two went their own ways, off to lead their own lives with Gypsy in the middle of them.
Gypsy lived with her mother from birth and it all started at around three months old.
When Gypsy was but a few months of age, Dee Dee figured that she had sleep apnoea and took her to multiple sleep clinics for it to be investigated only to find that there was no evidence of the disorder and to be sent home empty handed every time.
Gypsy turned eight years old and Dee Dee had found a whole list of medical problems with her daughter: muscular dystrophy; leukaemia; epilepsy; hearing and vision problems and asthma to name a few. Because of these illnesses, Gypsy was forced to use a wheelchair as she was told she couldn’t walk, and a feeding tube was inserted into her stomach, Gypsy’s teeth were even removed when they were rotting for an unknown reason.
Gypsy was put on a plethora of drugs and medications to treat all of her conditions and was even given a breathing machine which she had to use at night. But all of this was a big operation for Dee Dee’s financial gain.
Dee Dee appeared to be the most idealistic mother to anyone that looked on. Dee Dee would spend all of her time looking after Gypsy, giving her all the attention in the world, cuddling her and holding her hand when making appearances or being out in public. Dee Dee would give Gypsy the whole world and more. Except the reason this woman was so devoted was because she was controlling and abusing Gypsy through Munchausen by proxy. Dee Dee had convinced doctors all over the place that Gypsy suffered with these awful illnesses. She would put her hands over Gypsy’s ears when talking to the doctors so she couldn’t hear what she was saying. Dee Dee told doctors this was because Gypsy suffered ‘mental retardation’ and she didn’t want to upset her.
Doctors saw no physical evidence of these problems and on nearly every report had written that the mother explained what was going on. Worst of all, when a doctor would get suspicious of these ailments not being true, Dee Dee would change doctors and change her background story altogether. One doctor in particular described the situation as being possible Munchausen by proxy but police had visited Gypsy after an anonymous tip and there seemed to be no cause for concern. Gypsy fell through just about every crack in the system that there could have been. Even Gypsy’s dad wasn’t allowed to see the girl without Dee Dee present so there was no way he could have found out that it was all fake.
One time, after Gypsy got tired of pretending to be in a wheelchair and be sick for fear of her mother’s punishments, she ran away. But, just four hours later, Dee Dee found her and took her back home, handcuffing Gypsy to the bed, starving her for two weeks and smashing her phone and computer so she couldn’t contact any one in the outside world. Gypsy was beaten with coat hangers and smacked when she didn’t follow her mother’s lead enough in public. In fact, the whole time that Dee Dee was so lovingly holding her daughter’s hand in public, she was showing dominance of Gypsy and if she said something wrong or slightly out of line, Dee Dee would squeeze her hand to signal her to shut up, and that is exactly what Gypsy did.
In 2012, Gypsy had created an account on a Christian online dating website, after she had grown up and realised exactly what her mother was doing. This was when she met Nicholas Godejohn. The pair spoke online for three years and confided in each other. Gypsy took a year before telling Nick that she could actually walk and that her mother made up a lot of her illnesses to take advantage of the people around her.
Dee Dee had made a huge amount of money as a direct result of her fraud and even had her home built for her and Gypsy by Habitat for Humanity. They had received free trips to Disneyland and everyone around them in their small town wanted to help out because their lifestyle had to have been difficult.
It wasn’t long after Gypsy and Nick first met in early 2015 for the first time that the text messages started happening. Over the three-year period of regular conversation, Nick had coaxed Gypsy into a fantasy she hadn’t known existed. Nick told her what BDSM is and that he wanted their relationship to be like that, so Gypsy agreed, as she was so infatuated with this man who said he loved her. Gypsy would call him ‘master’ or ‘sir’ and the pair would talk about what they want to do with each other, with Gypsy even sending him seductive pictures or herself.
Gypsy was getting increasingly scared of her mother and more so tired of living under the false pretence that she was disabled in so many different ways. The first message started off tongue-in-cheek. Nick told Gypsy he would protect her from anyone, with Gypsy responding ‘even my mom?’ and Nick agreed.
In June 2015, Nick came back to see Gypsy in Springfield. Dee Dee had just gone in to sleep and Gypsy received a text from Nick telling her that he was outside. Gypsy opened the door for Nick, handed him gloves, duct tape and knife and ran to the bathroom, locking the door and curling up on the floor. Through her fingers Gypsy could hear the sounds of her mother being murdered, stabbed to death in a pre-planned attack by the pair so Gypsy could attempt to live a normal life with her fear-inducing boyfriend, with nothing to worry about. Dee Dee was screaming out to Gypsy and shouting for help and at no point did she try to stop Godejohn from murdering her mother in cold blood.
Once the screaming stopped, Nick retrieved Gypsy from the bathroom and proceeded to have sex with her. The pair stole around $4,000 from Dee Dee in cash she had been keeping around the house, mailed the knife and gloves to Godejohn’s parents house and they fled to a motel outside the town.
Dee Dee’s body was found a couple of days later after posts from her shared Facebook account with Gypsy became concerning. It turns out that after the murder, Gypsy was posting things such as “that b**** is dead” and calling her mother a ‘pig’, to make it seem like someone else did this and was trying to taunt everyone. Concerned friends rang the house but when no one answered, the police were called. The police entered and walked into a blood bath for a bedroom. Even more concerning was the Gypsy was not there, had she been kidnapped? Had she been murdered in her vulnerable state and been dumped somewhere?
Gypsy and Nick were found at Nick’s parents house the day after Dee Dee’s body was found and they were arrested on suspicion of murder. Nick’s parents were completely unaware of what had happened and when they were taken in to questioning, were horrified to find out that the murder weapon had been sent to their house and was sat in a package in Nick’s room. Gypsy and Nick seemed to be acting completely normal. When the police were questioning them separately, Gypsy acted seemingly horrified at the news of her mother’s death and claiming she had no idea it was going to happen, that she had no part in it. Nick, on the other hand, was fully opening up to the police and telling them that Gypsy had asked him to do it and he wouldn’t have done it if Gypsy hadn’t had asked.
Eventually, the two’s deadly plan was found through the text messages on their phones and bit by bit, the police managed to put together the life that Gypsy had led under her controlling and abusive mother’s demands and that she had fallen in love with this man who would protect her from anyone. A promise which he profoundly delivered on. Nick had claimed that he suffered with Dissociative Identity Disorder but had never been diagnosed with it. It later came out that Godejohn suffered with Autism and due to the nature of this, he was troubled in setting aside fantasy from real life; living his fantasy out online with Gypsy by meeting her and striking out on her mother. Godejohn had played on the self DID diagnosis by re-enacting what he thought he believed to be symptoms of the disorder, symptoms which were completely out of the ordinary.
So, what became of the murderous two? Well, in February 2019, Nicholas Godejohn was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in the first degree and 25 years for armed criminal action. In July 2015, Gypsy Rose Blanchard accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to murder in the second degree and received 10 years imprisonment for the crime, having to serve 85% of her time before she can be eligible for parole, which puts her earliest time of being freed at 2024, aged 32.
Gypsy has been reported to be ‘thriving’ in her prison environment; she has put on weight from not being starved as a punishment, she is taking classes to learn since she was taken out of school in the second grade by Dee Dee, and she is learning photography.
Dee Dee Blanchard was a master manipulator and took her only daughter for granted, using her for financial gain and attention for always looking after Gypsy no matter what. This was a tragic case of a life for a life since this appeared to be Gypsy’s only way out of a life determined by her mother’s actions and feelings. This was the only reason that the death penalty was not sought after in this case.