The world was rocked in 2015 when a loving mother by the name of Dee Dee Blanchard was stabbed to death in small town Missouri. Dee Dee had been known in the community as a selfless woman who had done her best for her disabled and chronically ill daughter, Gypsy Blanchard. Gypsy had been known to have suffered from leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy among many, many other conditions. She used a wheelchair and according to her mother, had “the mental capacity of a 7 year old.”
However, everything anyone knew about these this mother and child was upended when the murder investigation began.
It turns out, Gypsy wasn’t chronically ill at all. She didn’t even need the wheelchair she’d been confined to for over a decade. Dee Dee Blanchard likely suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy and had been inventing medical conditions for Gypsy since she was 3 months old. During this time, the mother and daughter received a house from Habitat for Humanity, stays at Ronald McDonald Houses, free flights, trips to Disney World, and a trip to see Miranda Lambert from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Dee Dee also received $1,200 monthly from Gypsy’s father in child support.
Gypsy states that she was physically abused by her mother during this time.
In 2012 Gypsy met Nicholas Godejohn online and they began a romantic relationship. Gypsy says that Godejohn was into BDSM and being inexperienced, she went along with it. In 2015 Godejohn arrived at the Blanchard house and Gypsy let him in. She also gave him duct tape and weapons, though she says she thought they were playing out a BDSM fantasy, not actually murdering her mother. Godejohn then murdered Dee Dee while she slept. Godejohn and Gypsy had sex and then stole $4,000 of Dee Dee’s money and then ran away together.
Police originally believed Gypsy had been kidnapped by whoever murdered Dee Dee. However, a neighbor who was friends with Gypsy was able to help the police track the couple to Godejohn’s home in Waukesha, WI where they were arrested.
Gypsy accepted a plea-bargain and pled guilty to second degree murder in exchange for a sentence of 10 years in prison. Godejohn was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.
While Gypsy sits in jail, others are telling her story. HBO made a documentary on the murder called Mommy Dead and Dearest, Lifetime made a fictionalized movie called Love You to Death, and Hulu ran a miniseries called The Act. The newest fictionalization is Hulu’s movie Run starring Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen. Here’s what the fictional movie gets right (and wrong) about this case:
Gypsy did have one friend
Gypsy’s neighbor, Aleah Woodmansee, was around Gypsy’s real age and became her confidante, especially when Gypsy started dating Nicholas Godejohn. Woodmansee would be the one to tell police about the relationship, which quickly lead to both Nicholas and Gypsy’s arrest.
People in real life were suspicious of Dee Dee
Dee Dee moved Gypsy away from her father and the rest of her family after they became suspicious of Dee Dee. They also believed that she was poisoning her step-mother. After the murder, Dee Dee’s family was so upset about the abuse she had inflicted on Gypsy they flushed Dee Dee’s ashes in the toilet.
While Dee Dee did a lot of shady shit to Gypsy, one thing that hasn’t been confirmed is whether she gave her daughter pills intended for dogs.
Gypsy really did try to escape
In 2011 while attending a sci-fi convention Dee Dee caught Gypsy in a hotel room with a man and threatened him with a forged birth certificate (incorrectly) showing Gypsy was underage. To keep her from attempting to escape again, Dee Dee destroyed Gypsy’s computer with a hammer.
Dee Dee used physical restraints to keep Gypsy locked inside their home
Dee Dee used handcuffs and “leashes” to keep Gypsy imprisoned. She also threatened to break Gypsy’s fingers if she ever attempted to escape.
Dee Dee made her daughter sicker
Gypsy recalls her mother rubbing an anesthetic into her gums before a doctor’s appointment causing Gypsy to drool. Dee Dee used this as an excuse to ask for Gypsy’s saliva glands to be removed. This procedure resulted in Gypsy losing her teeth.
Dee Dee gaslit others into seeing Gypsy as an unreliable narrator
Dee Dee used Gypsy’s “mental incompetence” to prevent people from rescuing her. At one point Dee Dee even told Gypsy she had called the police and told them about Gypsy’s “mental disorders” so that they wouldn’t believe her in case she was ever able to escape.
Dee Dee didn’t murder anyone to keep her secret
That we know of.
The movie ending is not at all like real life
Without giving any spoilers, I’ll say that what’s true is that Dee Dee really was Gypsy’s mom and they really did love each other. While serving her sentence, Gypsy told Buzzfeed: “I think [Dee Dee] would have been the perfect mom for someone that actually was sick.”