St. Louis Woman Convicted of Killing Abusive Mother to Be Released from Prison Today
On July 2016, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, now 32 years old, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard. Dee Dee, originally from Louisiana, settled in Springfield, Missouri with her daughter after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The case gained national attention and was the subject of an HBO documentary and Hulu series.
Dee Dee had claimed that Gypsy suffered from a variety of illnesses, including muscular dystrophy, severe asthma, and epilepsy, which were all fabricated. She used her daughter’s fake disabilities to gain attention for herself and receive free trips and backstage passes to concerts. Gypsy was forced to undergo unnecessary medical procedures, such as having her saliva glands removed and teeth extracted, and was made to use a wheelchair or walker.
In 2012, Gypsy met Nicholas Godejohn online and the two began a secret long-distance relationship. Godejohn eventually traveled to Missouri and the couple met at a movie theater, where they had sex in the bathroom after Gypsy was able to escape from her mother. The relationship continued and in 2015, Godejohn returned to Missouri and brutally killed Dee Dee, who was found with 17 stab wounds. The couple fled to Wisconsin, where they were later arrested and charged with murder.
During the investigation, it was revealed that Gypsy had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her mother, who experts believe had a severe case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. As a result, prosecutors downgraded the charges against Gypsy to second-degree murder, to which she pleaded guilty.
Gypsy’s release comes after serving 85% of her sentence, which is standard in Missouri for many criminal sentences. However, Godejohn’s case went to trial and he was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2018 and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He is currently incarcerated in Missouri.
The case gained widespread media attention, with appearances on shows like Dr. Phil and 20/20, a Lifetime film, and a novel. Gypsy’s story was also the basis for the Hulu series The Act, which was adapted from a 2016 Buzzfeed article by reporter Michelle Dean.
In an interview with Dean, Gypsy expressed remorse for her actions, stating, “What I did was wrong. I’ll have to live with it.” Her release marks the end of a highly publicized and tragic case.