He was one of the most famous in the world for what is known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy: a form of child abuse in which the child’s caregiver, often his mother, invents false symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it appear that the child he is sick
Gypsy Rose Blanchard , whose case shocked America in 2015, just turned 30 behind bars. There, the young woman is serving a ten-year sentence for ordering the brutal murder of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard , who had forced her all her life to use a wheelchair, fake cancer and even take drugs that she did not need. , but that caused damage.
Recently, the British newspaper The Mirror has recalled in an article this gruesome episode that inspired the series The Act in 2019 .
Clauddine ‘Dee Dee’ Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy, a girl with severe illnesses, lost everything when Hurricane Katrina ripped through Louisiana in 2005 . The girl’s father was an alcoholic and drug addict who abused her and then left her without any support.
A few months after Gypsy’s birth in 1991, her mother suspected that the girl had obstructive sleep apnea syndrome , a disorder that prevents breathing during sleep. Then followed a long list of diseases including genetic problems, severe asthma, epilepsy, as well as muscular dystrophy, which doomed her to a wheelchair.
As a baby, he overcame leukemia , but had to continue taking a large number of medications. In addition, his mother would shave his head, ensuring that his hair was going to fall out anyway. Due to medication and the occasional need to ingest food through a tube (or perhaps due to poor hygiene), her teeth rotted. Sometimes I couldn’t breathe without an oxygen cylinder.
She underwent several surgeries for vision and hearing problems and had her salivary glands removed due to an alleged excessive secretion. The mother claimed that her daughter had a cognitive delay, so she had to study at home.
After Hurricane Katrina, the family found refuge in the state of Missouri, where charitable organizations built a house adapted to their needs, with ramps and a ‘hot tub’. They became friends with their neighbors and their particular situation made them stars on local television. They received many grants from different NGOs that allowed them, for example, to take a free trip to Disney World or stay in residences of the Ronald McDonald Children’s Foundation.
After meeting and falling in love with Nicholas Godejohn , 23, with a criminal record online, Gypsy Rose confessed to all the abuse she had been subjected to. Although her mother tried to prevent the relationship, the two young men plotted Gypsy Rose’s escape route: killing Dee Dee .
The murder took place on June 12, 2015, when Nicholas Godejohn entered Gypsy Rose’s home while her mother was sleeping, to stab her up to 17 times. “That bitch is dead!” Gypsy herself wrote that day. When the police and the neighbors entered her house, they found her stabbed and found no trace of her daughter despite the fact that all the wheelchairs were in the house .
Police discovered that the young woman had eloped with her boyfriend and that she had no difficulty walking. It also turned out that all her serious illnesses were an invention of her mother, who had spent years convincing her that they were real.
Following the crime, the couple fled to Wisconsin, where they were located by police and Gypsy’s true situation was uncovered . During the trial, the young woman won the sympathy of the jury due to the abuse she had suffered for years by her mother, and was granted a deal to accept a 10-year sentence for second-degree murder, which she accepted.
Nicholas Godejohn, meanwhile, was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. During her trial, Gypsy Rose testified on her behalf and recounted the nightmare she experienced all those years ago. “I dont think anyone would believe me. I feared my mother more than anyone else,” he came to assure.
Now, after several years in prison, his hair has grown and his health is recovering. In an interview in 2018 he came to confess to an American media that he felt freer living behind bars than with his mother : “The prison in which I lived before with my mother, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t have friends. Here , in prison, I feel freer.