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Gypsy Blanchard: Killer or Victim of Munchausen by Proxy?

Leah is a published writer with a passion for criminal profiling and watching and reviewing movies.

Gypsy Blanchard and her mother, DeeDee Blanchard.

Gypsy Blanchard and her mother, DeeDee Blanchard.

The Life of Gypsy Blanchard

Gypsy Blanchard was a chronically ill 13-year-old girl with the mentality of a seven-year-old. Bound to a wheelchair, bald, and losing teeth, she could not walk. Her mother, Clauddine "DeeDee" Blanchard, was not discouraged, however. She was so involved with her daughter's illnesses that she would tell the doctors what her daughter needed. As time went on, Gypsy got diagnosed with more health problems.

Throughout all of the trials, DeeDee was a loving mother. She took care of Gypsy. Even when all their possessions and home were destroyed in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, DeeDee took Gypsy and relocated. She went to doctors and made sure Gypsy had the right medications and right diagnoses. Her love did not stop there.

Wherever Gypsy went, DeeDee was there. The teenager was unable to walk due to muscle dystrophy, so her mother moved her from place to place in a wheelchair. They were inseparable. Friends said that her mother was always hugging her and holding her hand. They were described as the best of friends who did everything together.

So in 2015, when DeeDee was found murdered in her bed and Gypsy was found missing, panic ensued. The resulting investigation was more horrible than anyone could imagine.

Gypsy Is Missing

On June 14, 2015, friends of DeeDee and Gypsy were alarmed when they saw a post on their Facebook page saying "that bitch is dead." When they tried to call them and respond to the status but got no reply, they went to the Blanchard's house to check on them. After noticing that the house was empty and no one was responding, the friends called the police to do a wellness check. The police discovered DeeDee stabbed to death in her bedroom shortly after they arrived. To make things worse, Gypsy was missing.

Additionally, another disturbing Facebook status had been posted, implying that Gypsy had been hurt before she was kidnapped. The police were immediately on high alert and began to search the house for clues, only to discover that Gypsy's wheelchair and medical supplies were still there.

Many people asked who would commit such acts against DeeDee and what kind of monster would kidnap a young disabled girl. After police interviewed friends that were on the scene, a friend told them what she knew about Gypsy talking to a "secret boyfriend." She even had print-outs of screenshots that Gypsy had shown her. Armed with the IP address, the Missouri police contacted the Wisconsin police in the county where the boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, lived. And there they found Gypsy in perfect health and not sickly at all.

The Truth About DeeDee

Police were shocked to find out that the wheelchair-ridden girl could walk. They were even more surprised to discover that she was not thirteen. She was, in fact, 23 years old. Gypsy was also not sick. Everything DeeDee had said was a lie. Gypsy told the police, while in interrogation, that DeeDee abused her physically and mentally.

Family members started to speak out, saying that no one had heard from DeeDee in years. She moved around from place to place, using her daughter's feigned illnesses to collect social security, take trips to Disney World, see Miranda Lambert live, and more. All of these trips were funded by the Make a Wish foundation. The Blanchards even got a house for free, courtesy of Habitats for Humanity, after DeeDee told her story of how they lost everything after Hurricane Katrina hit their house in New Orleans. Not to mention she had been arrested in the past for fraud.

The more people they talked to, the more police started to realize that this was a bizarre and very rare case. DeeDee's stepmother told police that she had gotten sick while DeeDee was living with them after she gave birth to Gypsy. It was discovered later that DeeDee was poisoning her stepmother's food. It also seemed that she had what experts call "Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy" [MSbP].

When Gypsy was a little girl, the warning signs had already been there. DeeDee's stepmother told investigators a story about when they had been living with them. Gypsy was a toddler and she had fallen. She had a few scrapes and bruises but nothing serious. DeeDee was adamant that the scrapes were worse than they seemed and that the little girl was going to need stitches as well as surgery. After that, Gypsy was confined to a wheelchair even though she was able to walk.

All signs pointed to DeeDee having MSbP. Or maybe she was just a con artist who found a way to get everything she wanted without having to pay. With her dead, the world may never know, though experts in the field started to say that she had clear symptoms. But what exactly is MSbP?

People with MSbP may go to extremes and even intentionally make their child sick.

People with MSbP may go to extremes and even intentionally make their child sick.

What Is Munchausen by Proxy?

Munchausen by Proxy is a complicated thing to explain. There is no set definition to this phenomenon, but each explanation has one thing in common: A caretaker, such as a nurse or a parent, purposely lies about their children being sick in order to gain attention through the sympathy of others. It is also believed to be a more extreme case of Munchausen Syndrome, where a person feels the need to make up things in order to get attention. They will go to extremes sometimes, including doing things to actually make the children sick.

There have been reports of these caretakers committing more deadly actions, ranging from suffocating the child and saying they were not breathing to giving the child laxatives and taking them to the hospital saying the child is sick. Some caretakers have even poisoned their victims in order to receive the attention they crave. Cases also include exaggerating symptoms to make them more serious. For example, the caretaker may tell the doctor that the victim has been having trouble sleeping, when in reality there was only one incident of sleep trouble.

Nicholas Godejohn pleading guilty.

Nicholas Godejohn pleading guilty.

The Verdict

On July 5, 2016, Gypsy Blanchard was found guilty of the murder of DeeDee Blanchard. Her sentence was ten years, the least amount of time allowed. Many people were outraged by the verdict. She had clearly been a victim of abuse. But she also orchestrated the cold-blooded murder of her mother. It was not an easy choice.

Her boyfriend, who carried out the act itself, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2018 and sentenced to life in prison in 2019. Godejohn's parents have described their son as being a follower and said that he may have not been aware of his actions. He has also been quoted as saying that he just wanted to help Gypsy. During the sentencing, he stated that he was "blind in love."

Bibliography

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Leah Harageones

What are your thoughts on this case?

Leah Harageones (author) from Lawrenceville on July 25, 2017:

Every time someone caught on, she would take Gypsy and move away to a different state. The documentary video is on Youtube if you want to check it out. Another good investigation tool is Sword and Scale Podcast episode 49, which is how I originally found out about the case.

Suzie from Carson City on July 25, 2017:

What a pathetic woman....sick as can be. It's very hard to believe no one caught on much sooner. I believe this is a story I must investigate fully. Quite explosive.

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