Dee Dee Blanchard claimed her daughter had many serious illnesses since birth, but the truth was not revealed until she was murdered by her daughter. This contemporary gothic story happened 5 years ago, but we are still shocked by it today.
Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born in 1991, and her mother Dee Dee claimed that Gypsy had sleep apnea shortly afterwards. When she was 8 years old, Dee Dee said she suffered from leukemia and muscular dystrophy. Hence, Gypsy began to use the wheelchair and use a feeding tube. However, her lies didn't end there.
Dee Dee also claimed that her daughter had many other different illnesses including seizures, asthma, hearing and visual impairments. Actually, Gypsy's symptoms were intentionally made up by her mother. Dee Dee shaved off her hair and made her undertake multiple surgeries. Her teeth rotted because of the medications and the removal of her salivary glands. But why was Dee Dee so cruel to her daughter?
Actually, Dee Dee had a mental illness known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is also called factitious disorder imposed on another. This illness made Dee Dee desire to be a caretaker and receive sympathy for looking after a sick daughter. Therefore, Gypsy became the miserable victim of her mother. However, how had Dee Dee deceived others over so many years?
The point was, Dee Dee always appeared to be a devoted mother and an amiable caretaker, so people would completely trust her. She also had nursing training, and people believed that she could diagnose Gypsy's symptoms. What's more, she even administered some medications herself to make Gypsy actually display the symptoms. Therefore, no one would doubt anything Dee Dee said, and she even used more ways to hide the truth.
When Gypsy was old enough to talk, she was required to keep a secret of her real condition. Actually, the medical tests often showed inconclusive or contradictory results regarding Gypsy's diagnoses, but Dee Dee would stop seeing the doctors who had questions about Gypsy's symptoms. When some people noticed that Gypsy may not actually need to use the wheelchair, Dee Dee moved away with Gypsy.
In 2005, Dee Dee and Gypsy moved from Louisiana to Missouri. When doctors in the new place asked for Gypsy's former medical documents, Dee Dee claimed that they had been victims of Hurricane Katrina, and they had lost many important files. This was a good excuse, and many people believed in her and gave them both lots of support.
In 2008, Dee Dee and Gypsy moved to a new pink house with a wheelchair ramp, which was built by the charity organization, Habitat for Humanity. They also received benefits that included charity-sponsored visits to concerts and Disney World. This mother and daughter pair always attracted a lot of attention, but this included both doubt and concern.
When Gypsy was 14, a neurologist in Missouri found that she may be the victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Then, in 2009, the authorities received an anonymous report stating that Dee Dee's claims of Gypsy's illnesses had no medical basis. It resulted in two caseworkers visiting their home, but unfortunately, Dee Dee convinced them there was nothing wrong. What were Gypsy's reactions to her mother's control?
As Gypsy grew older, she gradually became harder to control. One day, Gypsy finally realised she could actually walk and eat regular food, so she wanted to have more freedom. In 2011, Gypsy tried to leave her mother by eloping with a man she met at a science fiction convention. However, Dee Dee soon found them and physically restrained her. Thereafter, Gypsy planned to rebel.
Gypsy eventually managed to join a Christian dating site where she met another man, Nicholas Godejohn. She told him the truth about her life and asked him to kill Dee Dee, so as to help her out of the misery. In 2015, Nicholas came to their house and stabbed Dee Dee, while Gypsy fearfully waited in the bathroom. It was a terrible and dangerous act, but Gypsy said she had no other choice.
Many people believed that Gypsy had many different ways to fight against her mother, such as exposing Dee Dee's lies by standing up in public. Nevertheless, Gypsy feared that no one would believe in her. She explained that she had no one to trust at that time, and she didn't know what her mother would do. Another thing about the mother-daughter relationship should be known to the public.
In fact, Gypsy had been entirely controlled and monitored by her mother over the past 20 years. She had not been allowed to go to school because Dee Dee claimed that she only had a mental age of seven. When they went outside, Dee Dee would keep holding Gypsy's hand and instructed her to be quiet by squeezing it. In essence, Gypsy was no different to a hostage, and the crime could be seen as a hostage trying to escape. But could the judge understand her difficulties?
In 2016, Gypsy pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, as her medical records could prove the abuse she was subjected to, she'll be eligible for parole beginning in 2024. As for Nicholas, he was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2018, which was a more serious offence than Gypsy, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
Gypsy said she didn't know her real condition until her mother died. She always thought she had leukemia. Now she is healthy and gets more freedom in prison than in the life she shared with Dee Dee. She feels relieved that she is out of that dark situation, but she is not happy with her mother's death.
Although everything happened 5 years ago, it still sounds very creepy today. However, we should take cases like this one more seriously. Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a rare disease, but we should stay vigilant and call for help when it happens. Also, the way relatives or families treat the patients is critical. What would you do if you were Gypsy?