Traditionally when one thinks about a murderer their minds go straight to individuals like Dahmer, Bundy, Gacy, the Manson Family or other names from the list of America’s most notorious; people deemed as psychopaths, but the case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard is much different. Blanchard is not your average natural born killer, she is someone who saw murder as her only escape from a life that was filled with lies and years of abuse.
Who is Gypsy Rose Blanchard?
Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born prematurely to Clauddine “Dee Dee” and Rod Blanchard (whom separated not long before Gypsy’s birth) . When Gypsy was just three months old, her mother became convinced that she had sleep apnea and began seeking treatment for the infant which included several overnight hospital stays and sleep studies. After extensive testing, doctor’s did not believe that Gypsy was suffering from the condition, but Dee Dee wasn’t convinced. Following the sleep apnea testing, Dee Dee became convinced that her daughter was suffering from a wide range of health issues due to an unspecified chromosomal disorder.
When Gypsy was 7 or 8, she was riding on her grandfather’s motorcycle with her cousin and they had a minor accident in which Gypsy sustained a minor abrasion to her knee. Kids get bumps and bruises, but to Dee Dee this was the beginning of a downward spiral of abuse and lies. Dee Dee told claimed that the small abrasion that Gypsy suffered would require surgeries and other extensive procedures to fix as she was convinced that Gypsy suffered from multiple disorders. This incident would lead to Gypsy’s long term wheelchair confinement and a massive web of lies.
Living a Lie
Though Gypsy saw on several occasions that she was in fact able to walk without a wheelchair, her mother continued to convince her that she wasn’t and kept her confined to it. She often went to the Special Olympics with her parents, and in 2001 was even named the honorary queen of the Krewe of Mid-City Parade, a child-oriented parade held in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
Gypsy stopped going to school after second grade and Dee Dee home schooled her due to her various illnesses. Gypsy taught herself to read with the use of the Harry Potter books. Around this time, Gypsy’s father remarried, but Dee Dee instead of finding a new partner invested her time in her “chronically ill” child and moved in with her father and stepmother. This is where Dee Dee’s depraved behavior would be uncovered. Not only was Gypsy’s health getting worse, but the health of Dee Dee and her stepmother began to decline. Her stepmother believed that she was preparing food laced with weed killer to make Gypsy sicker and to try to do away with the one person questioning her treatment of her daughter. Dee Dee was fed-up with her stepmother’s questioning and moved away with her daughter; shortly after they moved out, her stepmother’s health returned to normal.
After the move, Dee Dee began taking Gypsy to the Tulane Medical Center at the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans with claims of newly presented hearing and vision issues as well as claims of on setting muscular dystrophy. Doctors performed muscular biopsies and found no trace of the illness, but that wasn’t good enough for Dee Dee, she insisted that they continue to test and treat her for a list of illnesses she believed Gypsy suffered from. Due to Dee Dee’s claims, doctors placed Gypsy on anti seizure medication.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Dee Dee and Gypsy relocated to Missouri as a doctor had suggested that they do. Gypsy’s life would get a lot more complicated and Dee Dee’s lies would get much deeper after this move. Gypsy was put on a feeding tube due to Dee Dee’s claims.
After the move to Missouri, Dee Dee and Gypsy would receive a massive outpouring of community support and media coverage. On top of all of the newfound attention, they began receiving help from organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald House, from which they would receive a new wheelchair friendly home, free trips to Disney World and backstage passes to a Miranda Lambert concert as well as financial help.
Dee Dee soon began claiming that her daughter suffered from leukemia which led to more lies and Dee Dee regularly shaving her daughter’s head and wearing wigs on her to maintain the appearance that she was in fact suffering from the illness.
Suspicions & Gypsy’s Growing Independence
Dr. Bernardo Flasterstein began to doubt Dee Dee’s stories after his testing failed to turn up any sign of the muscular dystrophy. He did not see any reason that Gypsy would be unable to walk on her own and began to believe that there was something more sinister at play. Dr. Flasterstein did not report his findings to social services as he was instructed to treat Gypsy and he believed that the authorities would not take his claims seriously. In 2009, nonetheless, an anonymous caller told the police about Dee Dee’s use of different names and birth dates for herself and her daughter, and suggested Gypsy was in better health than claimed. Officers who performed the resulting wellness check accepted Dee Dee’s explanation that she used the misinformation to make it harder for her abusive ex-husband to find her and Gypsy, without checking this story out with Rod, and reported that Gypsy seemed to genuinely be mentally handicapped. The file was closed.
While those close to Gypsy still believed she was a teenager, by the 2010s she was in fact an adult, and began to test the limitations of her mother’s scheme. A neighbor recalls an incident either in 2009 or 2010 where Gypsy showed up at her door one night, without her wheelchair, seeking a ride to a local hospital to visit a man with whom she shared a romantic interest. The man had been assaulted by a group of people familiar with Gypsy’s medical history, who felt that he was taking advantage of a mentally-challenged underage girl. At the hospital Gypsy produced a birth certificate that gave her correct date of birth, proving that she was of legal age. Dee Dee went to the hospital, where she said that that birth certificate was an incorrect version issued after Katrina, apparently proving it with the “real” birth certificate giving a more recent birthdate. Reportedly Gypsy was made to apologize to all present.
In 2012, Gypsy made contact with a man named Nicholas Godejohn via a Christian singles group on Facebook. The pair quickly moved into more flirtatious conversation which included SDSM topics and even eloping and potential names for their children. The following year, Dee Dee and Gypsy went to meet with Godejohn. As soon as they did meet for the first time in real life, Godejohn says, Gypsy led him to the bathroom, where the two had sex. However, she apparently did not find him as desirable in person as he had seemed online, and she never introduced him to her mother. The two continued their Internet interactions, however, and began developing their plan to kill Dee Dee.
The Murder of Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard
Godejohn returned to returned to Springfield in June of 2015, while Gypsy and her mother attended a doctor’s appointment. After the two returned home and Dee Dee had gone to sleep, Gypsy contacted Godejohn to let him know and he proceeded to their home. Once he arrived at their home, Gypsy handed him duct tape, gloves and a knife which he was to use to murder her mother. Godejohn ordered Gypsy to hide in the bathroom and to cover her ears so she wouldn’t have to see or hear her mother’s murder; he then proceeded to stab Dee Dee several times in her sleep. After the deed was done, the pair had sex in the bathroom, took $4000 that Dee Dee hid in the house and fled to a motel outside of Springfield. To avoid being caught, they mailed the murder weapon back to Godejohn’s home in Wisconsin. Witnesses saw the pair at a bus station where they observed Gypsy wearing a blonde wig and walking unassisted.
On June 14th, Gypsy urged Godejohn to post two status updates to Dee Dee’s Facbook page so that her body would be discovered. The first one read “The bitch is dead” followed shortly by another post that suggested that someone had broken into their home, murdered Dee Dee and raped Gypsy. The updates were reported to police and Dee Dee’s body was discovered on June 14, 2015. Shortly after, a GoFundMe account was created to help pay the funeral expenses of Dee Dee and possibly the missing Gypsy (who everyone still believed was very ill).
Arrest and Conviction
Police conducted an IP search on the status updates made to Dee Dee’s Facebook page and discovered that the updates were made from the home of Godejohn in Wisconsin. Police agencies in Waukesha County were contacted and conducted a raid on Godejohn’s residence. Upon breaching his home, authorities not only found Gypsy safe and unharmed, but she was moving around without the assistance of her wheelchair and appearing rather healthy. Both were taken into custody.
Upon questioning, Gypsy came clean not only about the matricide, but the years of fraud and abuse that her mother had committed. Gypsy went on to tell police that her mother would often use physical abuse to control her; if Gypsy would begin to act too healthy or say something that may lead others to believe that she was not really sick, her mother would squeeze her hand tightly or use other various physical ways of getting her to stop talking. The more police listened to Gypsy and looked into Dee Dee, the more they began to uncover and even began to believe that Dee Dee may have been responsible for the death of her own mother years prior to her abuse of Gypsy.
The pair were soon extradited back to Missouri and held on a $1 million bond. During the trial, after Gypsy’s testimony of how Dee Dee treated her combined with her severely malnourished appearance, sympathy began to take hold of the judge and the jury. Gypsy was not seen as a vicious murderer, but as an innocent girl that had been mistreated and held captive for her mother’s personal gain. While she may not be a violent criminal, Gypsy still had to face judgement; in July of 2015, Gypsy accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Godejohn’s trial will begin in November of 2018.
To hear the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and the twisted life she was led to live in her own words, tune into Investigation Discovery on Tuesday, November 6th at 9/8c for Gypsy’s Revenge.