The story of Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee (Clauddine) Blancharde is one of twists, deception and abuse. On the surface, it’s a story of a gravely ill child and a mother who would do anything to help her. But the Blancharde family are not as they appear.
Springfield, Missouri. June 14, 2015.
Late in the evening, Green County Police find the deceased body of Dee Dee Blancharde, mother of a severely ill girl named Gypsy Rose. It appeared the body had been stabbed and was found lying face down on her bed in a pool of blood for many days before it was found. Their neighbours had called the cops after vulgar facebook posts appeared on Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee’s shared Facebook account.
Gypsy Rose was diagnosed with leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy and had a mental age of a 7-year-old due to being born prematurely. At the time the police found Dee Dee’s body, Gypsy Rose was missing from the home, her wheelchair and medication remained. Police feared Gypsy had been abducted and had a low chance of survival without her medication, oxygen and feeding tubes.
As the police were clearing off the house as a crime scene, a neighbour and friend of Gypsy Rose, Aleah Woodmansee, approached them to inform them that they had been corresponding via a secret facebook account that belonged to Gypsy Rose. She told the police that Gypsy was seldom left alone with her but when she was, she spoke as a normal teenager. Aleah told the police about Gypsy’s online boyfriend, whom she had met on a Christian singles site a year prior. Aleah also had printouts of conversations between herself and Gypsy about the online boyfriend, which included his name, Nick Godejohn. Based on this information, the police contacted Facebook and asked them to track the IP address on the vulgar facebook posts, the address turned up in Wisconsin, and the police were in contact with Waukesha County Police, ready to pounce on the address.
Big Bend, Wisconsin. June 15, 2015.
Police raid the home of Nick Godejohn, finding both Godejohn and Gypsy Rose in the house. He surrenders, confessing to the murder. Gypsy Rose walks out towards the police, despite being in a wheelchair for the entirety of her life. She too confesses. Both Godejohn and Gypsy Rose are charged with murder, and felony armed criminal action.
Wisconsin. June 16, 2015.
Gypsy Rose Blancharde again walks into the courtroom, handcuffed and brought before a judge.
The Truth Comes Out. 2015-2016.
In August 2005, Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blancharde move to Missouri. The medical records that describe all of Gypsy Rose’s illnesses apparently destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, along with all of the Blancharde’s belongings. However, the truth was that Gypsy Rose was never ill, the only effect from her premature birth being a slightly misshapen skull. Her mother deceived everyone around her and made even medical professionals believe that her daughter was gravely ill. Dee Dee shaved Gypsy Rose’s head, had her saliva glands injected with botox to make her drool, then had them removed completely when she complained that Gypsy drooled too much. She cut off contact with any family that questioned Gypsy’s diagnosis. She also claimed to be in hiding from an abusive ex-husband, but the reality was that Gypsy’s father was a nice man who wasn’t ready for marriage. He visited Gypsy when he could, and sent money every month. Dee Dee had a feeding tube implanted on Gypsy, made her take seizure medication that made her teeth fall out and pulled her out of school in second grade.
Dee Dee Blancharde apparently had Munchausen by proxy syndrome. Munchausen by proxy is characterised as “a relatively rare form of child abuse that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker”. The attention that Dee Dee received from Gypsy Rose’s apparent illnesses fuelled her own. Only one medical professional could see through Dee Dee’s deception but never reported his findings.
Dee Dee’s deception was widespread. Habitat for Humanity built their house. They accepted financial donations for Gypsy Rose’s treatment. They were given backstage passes to Miranda Lambert concerts and treated to trips to Disney World.
Gypsy’s Trial, Missouri. July 2016.
Gypsy and Godejohn had come up with a plan to kill Dee Dee, to free Gypsy Rose from the abuse of her mother. Godejohn caught a bus to Springfield, slipped into the house while Dee Dee slept and Gypsy Rose hid in the bathroom. Godejohn then stabbed Dee Dee to death. Both he and Gypsy Rose cleaned up the crime scene.
Under normal circumstances, the prosecution would usually seek the death penalty but claimed in this situation they would not for either offender. They found that Godejohn had Autism Spectrum Disorder, an IQ of 82 and had a diminished mental capacity. His trial is set for November 2018. He is facing life in prison.
Gypsy Rose Blancharde pleaded guilty to Second-Degree Murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Gypsy Rose has since done many interviews from prison, including on the Dr Phil Show and for the documentary about the case Mommy Dead and Dearest. She was so malnourished upon entering prison that she gained 6.4kg, when usually prisoners lose weight while incarcerated. Gypsy is extremely remorseful, claiming that Dee Dee would be the perfect mother for someone who was actually sick. But Gypsy is also granted more freedom in prison than she was in her life with her mother.
LIVING IS EASY WITH EYES CLOSED
Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose’s shared Facebook account showed very little information, except under the “favourite quotation” section of the profile. The lone quote “LIVING IS EASY WITH EYES CLOSED” is listed. This is a lyric from The Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever. The full verse reads;
Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It’s getting hard to be someone
But it all works out
It doesn’t matter much to me
Dee Dee was speaking of her deception in plain sight, from the very beginning.
HBO Documentary: Mommy Dead and Dearest