Gypsy Rose Blanchard, convicted in 2015 for orchestrating the murder of her abusive mother, has been granted early parole and released from the Chillicothe Correctional Center in Missouri on Thursday. Blanchard, now 32 years old, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges and served 85 percent of her original sentence, resulting in her release after eight years instead of the initially imposed 10.
Blanchard’s imprisonment stemmed from her manipulation of an online boyfriend, convincing him to carry out the act against her abusive mother. The case gained widespread attention, leading to the creation of a popular crime drama, a documentary, a book, and more. The narrative also highlighted the prevalence of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a condition believed to have afflicted her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard.
What Happened To Gypsy Rose Blanchard?
Blanchard’s case gained global attention when American actress Joey King portrayed her in the television series “The Act,” offering a captivating depiction of Blanchard’s life. In a notable scene from the 2019 show, King embodies Blanchard with a shaved head, glasses, and a distinctive gummy smile that reveals missing teeth.
The scene unfolds in Blanchard’s room, where she is clad in oversized glasses and pink pajamas from the children’s section. Huddled over a laptop, she glances around cautiously, ensuring no one is observing her. Focused on the screen, she wears a secretive smile.
The narrative takes a twist as Blanchard attempts to create a Facebook account, confronted with uncertainty about her birth date and year. Her mother had given conflicting information, asserting she was born in 1995 or perhaps 1993. Feeling betrayed, Blanchard investigates her mother’s possessions and discovers her birth certificate, revealing the truth—she was born in 1991.
The deception doesn’t end there; Blanchard’s mother, Clauddine (Dee Dee) Blanchard, fabricated a web of lies, convincing her daughter and multiple doctors that Blanchard suffered from various ailments, including muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, leukemia, and vision impairment. Contrary to these claims, Blanchard is physically and psychologically healthy to this day.
Blanchard’s mother manipulated the situation to the extent that her daughter was prescribed numerous medications and subjected to various medical procedures, including unnecessary eye surgery and the removal of salivary glands. False assertions of needing a wheelchair and a feeding tube added to the elaborate deception.
Dee Dee Blanchard successfully evaded scrutiny by citing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on her and her daughter’s medical records. She strategically avoided revisiting doctors who questioned her, allowing the deceptive narrative to persist.
What is Munchausen by proxy?
Michael Stanfield, the attorney who represented Gypsy Blanchard in her trial, has asserted that Gypsy’s mother, Dee Dee, suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Although there was no formal diagnosis made during Dee Dee’s lifetime, other independent experts have concurred with Stanfield’s belief in Dee Dee having this condition.
Munchausen syndrome is a psychological disorder characterized by individuals intentionally fabricating or exaggerating symptoms of illness to garner attention and care for themselves. In the case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, the affected individual induces or feigns symptoms in a relative, typically a child, as a means of seeking sympathy. This form of the disorder is also referred to as factitious disorder imposed on another and is relatively uncommon. Parents or caregivers may exploit the exaggerated or fabricated illnesses of their children to elicit sympathy and support.
How did Gypsy convince her boyfriend to kill her mother?
As Blanchard matured, her mother’s physical abuse escalated, leading her to question the veracity of her supposed illnesses. Subsequently, she encountered Nicholas Godejohn on a Christian dating website, and three years later, the pair hatched a plan to end Blanchard’s mother’s life. During Godejohn’s visit to Blanchard’s residence, he fatally stabbed her mother using a knife provided by Blanchard, who concealed herself in the bathroom.
Following the incident, the duo boarded a bus to Wisconsin, where they were apprehended in June 2015. Blanchard, confessing to influencing Godejohn to commit the act, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2016. During Godejohn’s 2018 trial, Blanchard admitted, “I talked him into it.”
Godejohn is currently serving a life sentence, with his trial lawyer, Dewayne Perry, arguing in court that Godejohn, diagnosed with autism, was deeply in love and manipulated. Blanchard expressed regret for her actions in an interview with People magazine.
Gypsy’s time in jail
Blanchard’s current appearance is markedly different from her time living with her mother. Her hair has grown, and she now navigates without the aid of a wheelchair.
Michael Stanfield, her trial lawyer, remarked, “I can honestly say I’ve rarely had a client who looks exceedingly better after serving a fairly long prison sentence.” He emphasized that prison is not typically a place conducive to one’s well-being, and he sees her transformed appearance as a testament to the severity of what Gypsy endured.
In addition to the television series “The Act,” Blanchard’s case has spawned an HBO documentary, a book, and an upcoming docuseries. In September, it was confirmed that Blanchard had been granted parole.