We’re used to mass-media being sensationalist, it’s what sells papers and brings in viewers, and media outlets are usually happy to exaggerate stories to make them more dramatic, more outrageous, and more exciting. The case of Gypsy Blanchard, and the brutal murder of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard was that rarest of stories, a crime that contained an unbelievable tale of deceit that lasted for decades and fooled nearly everyone, a domineering mother that forced her only daughter to live a lie from her earliest years, and a muddied trail that left most people considering who was guilty, and what even comprised guilt, even though the killer admitted to the crime almost immediately upon being questioned.
The Gypsy Blanchard case is supremely disturbing, and more sensational than anything a tabloid paper would ever invent, so incredible are the facts in the case, but it leaves us questioning where guilt lies. It also leads us to question what extent Gypsy and her boyfriend, who confessed to the actual murder, are guilty and deserve to be punished for their actions. The boyfriend was Nick Godejohn in case you did not know.
Dee Dee And Gypsy Blanchard’s Early Life
Clauddine Pitre, known as Dee Dee , was born in 1967 in Chackbay, Louisiana and spent her early years in the nearby town of Golden Meadow. She was a difficult child, occasionally stealing small amounts of cash from her father, sometimes as a result of not getting her own way. At the age of 24 Dee Dee met 17 year old Rod Blanchard and the pair began dating, a few months later she fell pregnant and the couple married. The marriage didn’t last long however, in early 1991, just before Gypsy’s birth in July of that year the couple separated, and Dee Dee moved in with her family after the birth of her daughter.
Gypsy was born very slightly prematurely, but showed no signs of any health issues at all, in fact she was obviously intelligent, and seemed a normal happy baby, but Dee Dee began taking her for hospital tests, claiming that the child was suffering from a range of complaints. At eight years old, after a very minor accident on her grandfathers motorbike, her mother confined her to a wheelchair, claiming that the injury was far more severe and would require surgery. Rod and Dee Dee’s family knew that Gypsy could walk perfectly well, but Dee Dee insisted that her ‘muscular condition’ would worsen in time, and eventually she would be inevitably confined to a wheelchair
Hurricane Katrina and Dee Dee And Gypsy Blanchard’s Move To Missouri
While living with Gypsy at her father and Stepmother’s home, Dee Dee was arrested several times for writing bad checks, she also came under suspicion of trying to poison her stepmother. She began to get regularly confronted over her treatment of Gypsy and decided to move to Slidell, Louisiana with her daughter. Dee Dee received public assistance, granted because of her daughters apparent medical problems and after telling doctors that Gypsy had begun experiencing seizures her daughter was prescribed medication, she also underwent several surgeries at the time, all of which were completely unneccesary.
August 2005 brought Hurricane Katrina which seriously affected the area and the Blanchards were moved to a shelter in Covington. Dee Dee told doctors there that Gypsy’s medical records had been destroyed and shortly afterwards the pair were airlifted to Dee Dee’s native Missouri. After a brief spell in a rented house in Aurora the Habitat for Humanity charity built them a home fitted with disability features such as a wheelchair ramp, and the community rallied around the sick little girl and her mother who had been displaced by hurricane Katrina. The Oley Foundation, another charitable institution honored Gypsy as their Child of the Year and charitable donations poured in. Free flights to visit doctors, free trips to Disneyland and backstage passes to concerts were all provided and Dee Dee and Gpysy received considerable local media attention.
By now Dee Dee was portraying Gypsy, the baby that everyone back home remembered being so bright and alert, as being somewhat ‘slow’, in her words. She claimed her daughter was retarded and had the mental age of someone much younger, and the lies even extended to Gypsy herself. When her father Rod phoned to wish Gypsy a happy 18th birthday Dee Dee told him not to reveal her real age, as she told him that Gypsy believed she was only 14. Whenever Rod and his second wife planned to visit his daughter, she would suddenly say she had a doctors appointment or some other event that would stop the visit, she told friends and neighbors that Rod was a drug addict and never gave her any money for Gypsy’s care, even though his monthly $1,200 child support payments had never failed to be paid on time, but there were some who were becoming increasingly suspicious about Gypsy’s health problems and Dee Dee’s lies.
Doctors in Springfield discovered that Gypsy’s leg muscles had not wasted away as they should have done after years confined to a wheelchair and one doctor even suggested that Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy was possible in the Blanchard case, a rare psychiatric condition where a care-giver exaggerates, or completely fabricates, the extent of a patients medical condition in order to gain sympathy, attention and possible financial help. Dee Dee made sure she received copies of all medical notes, and not long after Munchausen was first brought up as a possibility in Gypsy’s medical records, Dee Dee changed Doctors.
In 2009 an anonymous caller told police that Dee Dee was using different names and dates of birth for both herself and her daughter, and suggested that Gypsy’s health was in far better shape than Dee Dee was claiming. Police visited the Blanchards but were satisfied with Dee Dee’s explanation that she used different names and dates to make it harder for her abusive ex-husband to find her. The police reported that Gypsy seemed to be genuinely disabled both mentally and physically, but they never bothered to check the details with Gypsy’s father back in Louisiana.
Gypsy Blanchard and Nick Godejohn
Manipulative Dee Dee may have been able to control her daughter and convince the World that she was desperately ill, but she couldn’t fight the natural biological processes awakening in her daughter. Gypsy met several young men online and at science fiction conventions, after one event in 2011 she attempted to escape her mother’s clutches, but Dee Dee tracked her down in just a few hours and threatened to call the police as she falsely claimed Gypsy was underage and had an equally false birth certificate to ‘prove’ it. After that incident she smashed Gypsy’s computer, and threatened to smash her fingers with a hammer if it ever happened again.
In 2012 Gypsy would go online at night to avoid her mothers scrutiny, met a young man named Nick Godejohn and the pair began a relationship, which although completely virtual, was intense and deep. After about a year Gypsy confessed to Godejohn the truth about her medical problems and the total control that her mother exerted over her life. Long online conversations between the two eventually saw a plan to murder Dee Dee formed, it was little more than a fantasy at first, but gradually it became far more sinister, and the plans became more concrete.
The Murder of Dee Dee Blanchard and The Subsequent Investigation
Nick Godejohn went to the Blanchard house sometime on or before June 12th 2015 and stabbed Dee Dee several times in her sleep, he and Gypsy Blanchard then went to a motel just outside Springfield where they stayed for several days, funded by $4,000 in cash that Dee Dee had been keeping at home. On June 14th two disturbing messages appeared on the Facebook page of Dee Dee. The first one simply read ‘That Bitch is dead!’ and the second, much longer message suggested the brutal and violent manner of Dee Dee’s death and also that the killer had raped Gypsy violently too. Friends called police and Dee Dee’s body was found in the home, as well as Gypsy’s wheelchair and medical supplies, everyone feared that Gypsy was dead too, but eventually police discovered the online messages between Gypsy and Godejohn, and tracked the two down to Nick Godejohn’s family home in Wisconsin.
What’s Gypsy Blanchard Doing Now in 2017 – Recent Updates
Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott announced shortly afterwards in a press conference that Gypsy was alive and well, and family and friends breathed a sigh of relief, but Sheriff Arnott also warned that things were ‘not as they appear’ in the case. The details about Gypsy’s real medical condition were reported and they detailed the physical abuse and threats that Dee Dee had used to keep her daughter living a lie. The sympathy that family and friends had previously shown for Dee Dee now shifted to Gypsy, the real victim in the case, who had suffered a life of abuse at the hands of her mother and who had never been given the chance to lead a normal life.
Prosecutors soon announced that they would not be seeking the death penalty for either Gypsy or Godejohn due to the exceptional circumstances in the case, and eventually Gypsy was offered a plea-bargain deal on a second degree murder charge. Gypsy accepted the deal, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to ten years in jail with the possibility of parole after eighty five percent of the term has been served, a sentence that will see her incarcerated until she is at least 32, but for a twenty six year old woman facing prison until at least 2024, Gypsy seems happier than she has ever been.
HBO produced a documentary about the case in May 2017 entitled ‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ in which Gypsy was interveiwed after she had received her sentence. When asked if she would rather spend the next ten years in prison, or the next ten years living her old life, she responded without hesitation, prison was far more acceptable to her. In fact when Gypsy first went to county jail after she and Godejohn were first apprehended, she actually gained 14 pounds in weight during the year to her trial so malnourished had she been previously. It seems that for someone like Gypsy Blanchard, the next decade in jail will probably be the best decade of her life so far.
Gypsy is now being regularly visited by her father Rod in Prison, and he, still amazed that his 26 year old daughter is perfectly healthy after being told that she would never live beyond her teens, is overjoyed that she is able to lead a normal life when she is released, but he also blames himself for not acting on his suspicions previously. The Blanchard family insist that Gypsy has suffered enough and should be freed now, but still most prosecutors and legal experts agree, a murder is a murder, and a premeditated murderer must be punished to some degree for taking another life, no matter what the circumstances.
Although a definite diagnosis is not possible after her death, doctors have established that Dee Dee displayed all the symptoms of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome during her life, and her mastery of manipulation managed to fool the vast majority of medical professionals and people she ever met, which only indicates that if her life had not been cut short so violently, Gypsy Blanchard would have been condemned to living a miserable life, totally under the control of her deceitful mentally-ill mother, a woman who was considered evil by many members of her own family. Her nephew Bobby Pitre, who was also featured in HBO’s ‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ is the most forthright of all, ‘If she was still alive, I’d kill her…slowly’ he says, ‘I’d like to see that fat pig suffer as much as she made Gypsy suffer’. Although most other members of Dee Dee’s family and the Blanchard family are less forthcoming about their true feelings, I suspect many of them feel much the same way about Dee Dee Blanchard, and the miserable life she made her daughter live.
Nick Godejohn is due to stand trial later in 2017 and faces life in prison on a charge of first degree murder, for the death of Dee Dee Blanchard. In June 2017 he requested to be tried by a jury rather than a judge, and he plans to plead guilty to the charge,