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Gypsy Rose Blanchard: What actually happened?

On Dec. 28, 2023, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the young woman who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder before being sentenced to 10 years in prison, was released on parole after eight years. 
Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s Instagram account
The first picture Blanchard posted after her release from prison. Editor’s note: This photo was taken from Blanchard’s Instagram prior to its deletion.

On Dec. 28, 2023, the entire world’s anticipation of the release of a certain prisoner appeared to reach its boiling point. Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the young woman who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder before being sentenced to 10 years in prison, was released on parole after eight years. 

However, members of the general public should investigate the topic further to understand the depths of Gypsy’s upbringing. 

Dee Dee & Gypsy Rose Blanchard

Born in 1991, Gypsy mainly grew up with her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, and was portrayed as a terminally ill child suffering from a range of medical conditions, including leukemia, muscular dystrophy, and epilepsy. Gypsy was subjected to endless medical treatments, surgeries, and medications. She remained isolated from the outside world, with her mother controlling every aspect of her life, including her education and social interactions.

In 2008, Gypsy and Dee Dee moved into a new home in Springfield, Mo. Built by Habitat for Humanity, it was painted pink and had a wheelchair ramp. Gypsy and Dee Dee also received benefits that included charity-sponsored visits to concerts and Disney World. All along, Dee Dee continued to bask in the attention she received for being a devoted caretaker.

However, it later emerged that Dee Dee had been faking Gypsy’s illnesses and disabilities for years, a form of abuse known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy. 

Gypsy’s escape attempts

In 2011, in an attempt to escape her mother, Gypsy fled along with a man she met at a science fiction convention. Dee Dee was able to find them through mutual friendships, and, despite Gypsy being 19 at the time, she convinced the man that Gypsy was underage. When they got back home, Gypsy claimed that Dee Dee had physically restrained her to her bed and smashed her computer. She also mentioned that occasionally, her mother would physically abuse her and refuse to give her food if she rebelled.

Gypsy’s next escape attempt, on the other hand, was successful. She joined a Christian dating site, where she met Nicholas Godejohn. She told him about the abuse she endured, and they came up with a plan for Gypsy to escape. On June 10, 2015, Godejohn came to Dee Dee’s house and stabbed her while Gypsy waited, ears covered, in the bathroom to block out her mother’s screams.

After the murder, Gypsy fled her home with Godejohn and ended up at his house in Wisconsin. That was when she decided to make the most significant decision of her life.

Five days later, Blanchard went on her and her mother’s shared Facebook account and made one last post, simply saying:“That B**** is dead!” She later made it clear that she wanted her now-deceased mother’s body to be discovered. Police used this post and tracked the I.P. (Internet Protocol) address to Godejohn’s home, which they raided later that same day. Godejohn surrendered and was taken into custody, and Gypsy was found unharmed and later placed under arrest as well.

The aftermath

It’s important to consider Gypsy’s isolating, conflicting, and traumatic childhood as factors to her motives. Gypsy was conditioned in a way in which she didn’t think anyone would believe her. She also explained, later, that she couldn’t trust anyone besides Godejohn. 

One needs to understand that Gypsy was controlled and watched by her mother her whole life up to this moment. She was not allowed to attend school, was claimed to have a mental age of seven, and was abused both physically and mentally under her mother’s control. 

Gypsy’s attorney was able to arrange a plea deal for her charges related to Dee Dee’s death via medical records that showed the abuse she had endured. In July 2016, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Godejhon was sentenced to life. She served eighty-five percent of her sentence before finally being released on Dec. 28, 2023. That was when, for the first time in her 32 years of life, Gypsy became a free woman.

Today, Gypsy is healthy. She stated that she had more freedom in prison than in the life she shared with Dee Dee, but even then, when asked by Dr. Phil, if she was glad her mother was dead, she stated, “I’m glad that I’m out of that situation, but I’m not happy she’s dead.” She also stated in an interview with the People Magazine, stating, “Nobody will ever hear me say I’m glad she’s dead or I’m proud of what I did. I regret it every single day.” 

It is crucial to discuss and bring awareness to realities like Gypsy’s childhood for several reasons. Acknowledging her victimization serves as a prevention strategy as more people become exposed to this form of child abuse, which will lead to increased awareness regarding abuse symptoms. 

Furthermore, educating the public about mental health challenges and dangerous actions encourages people to be informed and to form the necessary responses and networks. They also showcase legal and social needs for reforms to protect the vulnerable, they campaign for abuse prevention, and they promote the well-being of the survivors.

Finally, this is the open dialogue that engenders empathy and support for survivors, thus eliminating the culture of silence and stigmatization of abuse. In turn, these changes contribute to the creation of healthier family dynamics that are ultimately aimed at preventing further harm. 

As Gypsy begins her journey of freedom, let us not only reflect on the complexities of her past but also advocate for systemic reforms to protect the vulnerable and foster healthier family dynamics, so we can strive towards a future where no one suffers in silence, and every individual has the opportunity to live a life free from harm.

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About the Contributor
Aram Rashduni
Aram Rashduni, Staff Writer

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