Who is Gypsy Rose Blanchard? What to know about the bizarre case as she is released from jail

Who is Gypsy Rose Blanchard? What to know about the bizarre case as she is released from jail

Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the woman who persuaded an online boyfriend to kill her mother after she had forced her to pretend for years that she was suffering from leukemia, muscular dystrophy and other serious illnesses, was released Thursday from prison on parole.

Blanchard’s story sparked national tabloid interest when reports first emerged of her mother’s death in 2015, but the bizarre case gained renewed attention when it became the subject of several documentary series.

Now, she’s been released from prison early.

Here’s a look at the case and how it unfolded:

Who is Gypsy Rose Blanchard?

Gypsy Rose Blanchard is a Missouri woman who convinced her online boyfriend to kill her mother after she suffered years of abuse.

At age 23, Blanchard had her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, killed after the mother essentially held her daughter prisoner, forcing her to use a wheelchair and feeding tube.

It turned out that Gypsy Blanchard, now 32, was perfectly healthy, not developmentally delayed as her friends had always believed. Her mother had Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder in which parents or caregivers seek sympathy through the exaggerated or made-up illnesses of their children, said her trial attorney, Michael Stanfield.

Gypsy Rose was subjected to years of unnecessary medical treatment and abuse, which she testified during the trial is what pushed her to suggest that Nicholas Godejohn, her then boyfriend, should kill Dee Dee.

What happened to Gypsy Rose Blanchard?

Blanchard was taken to doctors throughout her life to receive treatment for conditions such as leukemia and muscular dystrophy that she did not actually have. According to the Springfield News-Leader, Blanchard’s mother forced her to use both a wheelchair and an oxygen tank although she required neither.

Stanfield said Gypsy Blanchard’s mother was able to dupe doctors by telling them her daughter’s medical records had been lost in Hurricane Katrina. If they asked too many questions, she just found a new physician, shaving the girl’s head to back up her story. Among the unnecessary procedures Gypsy Blanchard underwent was the removal of her salivary glands. Her mother convinced doctors it was necessary by using topical anesthetic to cause drooling.

“Essentially Gypsy’s mother was holding her a prisoner,” Stanfield said. “Her mother would not allow her to spend any time alone with any other human being. Her mother, when they went to the doctor, did all the talking.”

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Through the ruse, the mother and daughter met country star Miranda Lambert and received charitable donations, a trip to Disney World and even a home near Springfield from Habitat for Humanity.

Gypsy Blanchard, who had little schooling or contact with anyone but her mother, also was misled, especially when she was younger, Stanfield said.

“The doctors seem to confirm everything that you’re being told. The outside world is telling you that your mother is a wonderful, loving, caring person. What other idea can you have?” Stanfield said.

But then the abuse became more physical, Stanfield said. Gypsy testified that her mother beat her and chained her to a bed. Slowly, Gypsy also was beginning to understand that she wasn’t as sick as her mom said.

The truth about her health – and the abuse she is believed to have suffered – was suspected by some but not entirely exposed until after her mother’s murder.

How did Blanchard’s mother die?

Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard was stabbed to death in June 2015 by Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, of Big Bend, Wisconsin.

Who was Nicholas Godejohn?

Gypsy Rose Blanchard said she met Godejohn on a Christian dating website in 2012 and that they carried out a secret relationship, including in text messages that prosecutors read in Godejohn’s trial.

Prosecutors argued that Godejohn plotted for more than a year before he stabbed Clauddine Blanchard. His attorneys argued that he is autistic and therefore does not have the mental capabilities required for premeditation.

Gypsy said she first met Godejohn in person in March 2015, when he visited from Wisconsin. In text messages presented in his trial, Godejohn and Gypsy generally discussed love, sex and planning a life together — until June 2015, when they began discussing needing duct tape and knives in the days before Clauddine Blanchard was killed. Godejohn and Gypsy often referred to each other’s darker impulses, with Godejohn’s discussing his “evil side” that he said “enjoys killing.” Gypsy’s darker side was called “Ruby” in the texts.

  Gypsy Rose Blanchard out of prison years after persuading boyfriend to kill her abusive mother

Clauddine Blanchard’s body was found after her friends noticed a post on her Facebook page stating, “That (expletive) is dead.”

When she took the stand at his trial, Gypsy Blanchard said “I talked him into it.”

“Nick was so in love with her and so obsessed with her that he would do anything,” Godejohn’s trial attorney Dewayne Perry argued in court, saying his client has autism and was manipulated.

Prosecutors, however, argued that he was motivated by sex and a desire to be with Gypsy Blanchard.

According to the probable cause statement, Gypsy Blanchard supplied the knife and hid in a bathroom while Godejohn repeatedly stabbed her mother. The two ultimately made their way by bus to Wisconsin, where they were arrested.

“Things are not always as they appear,” said Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott as the strange revelations began to emerge.

When did Gypsy Rose go to prison and when was she released?

Prosecutors cut her a deal because of the abuse she had endured. In exchange for pleading guilty in 2016 to second-degree murder, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016. The first-degree murder charge she initially faced would have meant a life term.

Godejohn is now serving a life sentence for his role in the killing.

Blanchard was released from Chillicothe Correctional Center in Chillicothe, Missouri, on Thursday, three years before her original release date.

She served seven years and was released on Thursday after being granted parole.

What did Gypsy Rose Blanchard say about her release?

“I’m ready for freedom,” Blanchard told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview prior to her early release. “I’m ready to expand and I think that goes for every facet of my life.”

But Blanchard said she remains remorseful.

“No one will ever hear me say I’m proud of what I did or I’m glad that she’s dead,” she told PEOPLE. “I’m not proud of what I did. I regret it every single day.”

What is Factious Disorder Imposed on Another and Munchausen syndrome by proxy?

Factious Disorder Imposed on Another (FDIA) formerly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, is when someone falsely claims that another person has physical or psychological signs or symptoms of illness, or causes injury or disease in another person with the intention of deceiving others, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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This disorder usually involves a parent claiming a child is in need of medical care that is in fact unnecessary.

The disorder may be caused by a combination of psychological factors and stressful life experiences, including childhood trauma, serious childhood illness, loss of a loved one, or other conditions.

Munchausen syndrome is a mental health disorder where you falsify, exaggerate, or induce physical, emotional or cognitive disorders, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

What else should you know about the case?

Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson described it as “one of the most extraordinary and unusual cases we have seen.”

Stanfield recalled that the first time he met Gypsy, she got out of breath walking the 75 yards (69 meters) from the elevator to the room where he talked to her. He described her as malnourished and physically frail.

“I can honestly say I’ve rarely had a client who looks exceedingly better after doing a fairly long prison sentence,” Stanfield said. “Prison is generally not a place where you become happy and healthy. And I say that because, to me, that’s kind of the evidence to the rest of the world as to just how bad what Gypsy was going through really was.”

Gypsy Blanchard later said it wasn’t until her arrest that she realized how healthy she was. But it took time. Eventually, she got married while behind bars to Ryan Scott Anderson, now 37, of Saint Charles, Louisiana.

The bizarre case was the subject of the 2017 HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest,” the 2019 Hulu miniseries “The Act” and an upcoming Lifetime docuseries “The Prison Confession of Gypsy Rose Blanchard.” Daytime television psychologist “Dr. Phil” McGraw interviewed her from prison. The novel “Darling Rose Gold” draws upon the story for its premise and Blanchard’s own account, “Released: Conversations on the Eve of Freedom” is set for publication next month.