November 9, 1:17pm CST
I have begun to cover the case as it moves forward towards trial. Follow along here.
June 16, 10:35am CST
In southwest Missouri lies “The Queen City Of The Ozarks”, a town called Springfield. Also known as the birthplace of Route 66 and home of my alma mater Missouri State University, Springfield is unlike anywhere I’ve ever lived. After eight years there I can say it’s a big city — the third biggest in the state, in fact — but it has a very “small town” feel. To some, this is a good thing. For me… well, let’s just say I didn’t belong there.
So you can imagine my surprise when I began browsing one of my favorite subreddits, /r/MorbidReality, and saw this:
That’s the Facebook status that alerted authorities to check on Claudinnea “Dee Dee” Blancharde of Springfield, Missouri — a local woman who, along with her daughter Gypsy, had relocated to the area after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. She was known to be very social and hadn’t been seen in several days but it was the disturbing post on social media that prompted friends and neighbors to contact the police.
On Sunday, June 14 2015, Dee Dee was discovered in her home. She had been brutally murdered.
Gypsy was nowhere to be found.
The Blanchardes were well-known in the Springfield area. Gypsy, previously reported to be 19 years old, suffered from muscular dystrophy and leukemia. The little family was well-liked and appeared to be thriving despite their disadvantages. In an interview regarding their displacement, Gypsy told reporters, “Love is stronger than any hurricane.”
Dee Dee’s murder and Gypsy’s disappearance were obviously front-page news in Springfield. People flocked to Facebook to express their grief, surprise, distress; prayer pages were set up in support of the Blanchardes. Oddly enough, before I was even aware of any of this happening, I saw one of my own Facebook friends commenting on a shared article regarding the murder. He said they were “harmless”.
Here’s where the case takes a strange turn.
On Monday, June 15 2015, Gypsy Blancharde was found alive states over in Big Bend, Wisconsin. She was with a 26-year-old male, Nicholas Paul Godejohn. Godejohn’s stepfather claimed the two were dating and had been communicating via the Internet.
Case closed! Obviously this guy had taken advantage of a disabled young woman and not only murdered her mother but gloated about it. End of discussion, right?
First of all, Gypsy is not 19. She’s 23. I have yet to find the source on why this information was incorrectly reported, but people on Facebook seem to believe that Gypsy was being infantilized and told to be younger because it came off as more sympathetic. After all, due to her disabilities and their displacement, Gypsy and her mother were given quite a number of kindnesses, including a rent-free home in 2007 and eventually a house built by Habitat For Humanity. According to one user, they were recently gifted a trip to Disney World via the Make-A-Wish foundation:
Next, Gypsy was supposedly wheelchair-bound and very weak. This information comes directly from the blog her late mother Dee Dee ran:
After the raid, Godejohn’s stepfather, Charlie Goldammer, claimed Gypsy had been walking and talking just fine — WITHOUT a wheelchair. When interviewed, he said, “There’s nothing wrong with her.”
But let’s take that with a grain of salt, because thanks to Facebook sleuths, we now know that Goldammer is a registered sex offender:
And as for the boyfriend, Nicholas Paul Godejohn doesn’t have the cleanest background either:
So what does this mean? Was Gypsy kidnapped after her mother was murdered by Godejohn? Was she coerced? How did this happen?
Upon finding out about her age and apparent health, Facebook began to speculate:
But how could anyone really know what was going on behind closed doors? Munchausen By Proxy is certainly plausible. After years of being infantilized and pitied for her “condition”, did Gypsy try to get out of her mother’s grasp? Some users think so:
But all this is purely speculation. Until about an hour ago, when Gypsy and Godejohn were officially charged for the murder of Dee Dee Blancharde.
They’re currently being held in custody in Wisconsin but will be extradited to Missouri. Their bail is set at $1 million — each.
That’s all the information that’s currently been released. Gypsy and Godejohn had been in questioning since the police found them… so what came out in questioning that would lead the authorities to charge an apparently disabled woman with first degree murder? It’s not a charge that’s handed out lightly.
What did Gypsy say? Is she really as sick as previously reported? Why was her age misrepresented? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI?
While Facebook continues to come up with its own conspiracy theories, I’ll be patiently waiting for updates from trustworthy news sources. Check back for more breaking updates as this fascinating case continues to unfold.
Update: June 16, 11:26am CST
A tweet from local Springfield reporter Chase Snider, who was in attendance at the Blancharde case press conference, seems to confirm the fact that Gypsy can walk:
Additionally, the probable cause statement has been released online. Here is what it reveals:
- There are three different birth dates listed for Gypsy.
- Godejohn admitted he was in town to see Gypsy.
- He asked Gypsy if she was “sure she wanted him to do kill Clauddinnea and Gypsy said yes”.
- Dee Dee’s cause of death was stabbing, and Godejohn was the attacker.
- Godejohn admitted he “thought about raping Clauddinnea however he did not do it.”
- He added “he would not have killed anyone unless Gypsy had asked him to, and this is why he killed Clauddinnea.”
- Godejohn cut his finger while stabbing Dee Dee and Gypsy helped him clean up the blood.
- Gypsy admitted “knowing her boyfriend was going to stab her mother, and she did nothing to stop it nor did she report it to the authorities.”
- She also admitted to being the one who posted the Facebook status.
- After cleaning up the blood, Gypsy called a Yellow Cab and left with Godejohn.
I have nothing else to add. I am, for one of the first times in my life, speechless.
Update: June 16, 12:16pm CST
The mug shots of Gypsy Blancharde and Nicholas Paul Godejohn have been released.
Additionally, Greene County sheriff has announced not to donate to the Blancharde family.
I am currently contacting my previous connections in Springfield, MO to see what else there is to find. My guess would be there’s even more we don’t know.
Update: June 16, 12:31pm CST
I was just emailed a tip regarding Gypsy; it seems she won an award titled Oley Foundation Child of the Year back in 2007. She was noted as being 12 years old, which would have put her as being born in 1995. We can see from the probable cause report that her actual birthdate was in 1991. From the Oley Foundation website:
Gypsy Rose Blancharde is twelve years old, yet one of her friends says she has wisdom and compassion beyond her years. Multiple health issues don’t stop Gypsy from encouraging and uplifting others. Before Hurricane Katrina caused Gypsy and her mother to relocate, Gypsy would talk at a university in New Orleans on why we should help and love one another.
Update: June 16, 1:08pm CST
A man who has identified himself as Dee Dee’s nephew has given some insight to Gypsy’s life, basically confirming the Munchausen By Proxy theory (if true):
He goes on to recount episodes from the Blanchardes’ past:
I have reached out to multiple members of the Blanchard family because there is a lot of speculation and rumor-milling going on in this closed Facebook group; it is very important to me that we know the full truth.
Update: June 16, 1:08pm CST
A Facebook user has said they met Gypsy and her mother several years ago:
Their description of Gypsy fits the bill, as older photos of her definitely look different from her mug shot:
This lends some weight to the idea that Dee Dee may have had a hand in Gypsy’s poor health. This story just gets darker and darker.
Update: June 16, 2:17pm CST
I just got off the phone with Bobby Pitre, Dee Dee’s nephew and Gypsy’s cousin, who was kind enough to give me an interview.
I warn you: this is about to get a lot worse.
Let’s start from the beginning. According to Bobby, no one on his side of the family (from which Dee Dee was estranged) was aware of Gypsy’s online boyfriend. In fact, he hadn’t seen or spoken to Gypsy since she was about 7 or 8 years old. When she was born, she may have been slightly premature — he recalls that her skull might have developed differently or been smaller than average — but other than that, Gypsy had no major health problems.
It all started when Gypsy was riding on a motorcycle with her grandfather. He took a turn a little too sharply and took a spill with Gypsy riding on the back, resulting in a small scrape on her knee. Bobby said Dee Dee took this and ran with it; suddenly Gypsy was “unable to walk” and required a wheelchair.
To the family, Gypsy was fine. Bobby remembers a few incidents where she seemed to be healthier than what Dee Dee was saying. Once, she was pushing other cousins around in her wheelchair, and another she was jumping on a trampoline. On both occasions, when Dee Dee saw her using her legs, she shouted at her to get back in her wheelchair. On the trampoline, Bobby said that when Gypsy saw her mother coming she actually collapsed and crawled back to her wheelchair as though paralyzed.
There were no records of the doctors Dee Dee claimed to be taking Gypsy to.
Suddenly, Gypsy was taking seizure medication (which caused her teeth to fall out) and Dee Dee was receiving government funding. Gypsy never went to school because, as Bobby says, “As close as Dee Dee could keep her, she kept her — she needed to get that check.” He also believes she was forcing Gypsy to wear glasses she didn’t need.
She wouldn’t let Gypsy eat certain foods because they “made her sick” and had rules for herself as well; Bobby said Dee Dee only ate potatoes. He can still remember the way she licked butter off her fingers.
While in Louisiana, Dee Dee was living with her father. She did all the cooking, presumably to help out the family who was letting her stay there… and suddenly her stepmother started getting sick. After being “called out” for her treatment of Gypsy at a family gathering and the suspicious sickness of her stepmother, Dee Dee was kicked out and she left, severing ties with her family.
When Dee Dee left, her stepmother recovered.
Bobby says Dee Dee’s mother behaved very similarly to Dee Dee, keeping her daughter close and making odd rules about food. He adds that Gypsy was nearly unrecognizable in her mugshot — and that when she passed, his grandmother looked similar.
Before getting news of Gypsy’s murder charge, Bobby said he and his family were sitting around a pool last night talking about the crime. He says the consensus was unanimous: “Gypsy finally snapped. She definitely killed her.”
“I think the truth needs to be exposed,” he told me in our conversation.
Though this case is far from over, it seems to me that upon meeting her online boyfriend, Gypsy saw a way out of the cage her mother had put her in. But it’s horrendous to think that murder was her only option.
Update: June 16, 6:56pm CST
No major updates as of right now. However, it has been brought to my attention that as the crime occurred in Missouri, Gypsy and Godejohn are eligible for the death penalty.
Update: June 16, 8:12pm CST
New developments, via the closed Facebook group I mentioned earlier. It would seem that, according to a Facebook account with their names combined, Gypsy and Godejohn have been in a relationship since 2012:
Additionally, it looks like the couple were into a form of BDSM where the male takes on a father-type figure and the female assumes the role of a submissive little girl:
This would make sense as it seems Gypsy had been infantilized her entire life by her mother Dee Dee. However, the revelation that the two could’ve been dating for almost 3 years is definitely a stunning development.
Update: June 16, 10:04pm CST
This photo was sent to me just recently to highlight the differences between the mug shot of Gypsy Blancharde and her recent appearance:
More breaking news. It seems a neighbor of the Blanchardes has opened up about an event where it seemed Gypsy was in trouble:
This appears to offer the idea that Gypsy had tried to escape in the past. On top of that, I received a private message detailing Gypsy’s involvement in local groups:
So she was definitely promoted as being quite ill and a popular figure in the Springfield crowd. It was also clear that the previously mentioned incident was claimed to have happened in 2011 or 2012.
Who knows if the attack came from her boyfriend who Gypsy appears to have been with since 2012 or if it was an attack from her mother disguised as something else. (Correction: I now realize it was her male acquaintance that had been attacked, not Gypsy, and this man was not Godejohn.) Whatever the case, it’s important to note that Gypsy was not using a wheelchair and appeared quite mobile.
The citizens of Springfield are getting angry. They feel they’ve been lied to and are bitter that the Blanchardes apparently used them. More soon as this story continues to develop.
Update: June 16, 11:30pm CST
I have been yet again contacted by someone involved with details of the case. To avoid editorializing, here is the message I received:
I’m privy to one of the events you have posted near the end of your article about Gypsy frantically attempting to get to Mercy ER for a boyfriend that had been beaten up. The “boyfriend” in question was not Godejohn but a friend of mine. She made it to the hospital and was then brought to what was then my house. I can confide that she had an I.D. that stated that she was 18 at the time. It was shortly after she had gotten there that her mother showed up and caused quite the scene, threatening my friend who was suffering from multiple injuries including a broken back with legal action because Gypsy “was a minor” and that the reason that she had different I.D’s was due to a mix-up in paperwork from Hurricane Katrina and missing records. The wig was blonde, she had no glasses, and I can also assure you that she walked just fine.
Update: June 17, 2:54am CST
I have received another private message by someone who would prefer to remain anonymous. Their post seems to corroborate the claims of Bobby Pitre, who I interviewed earlier today:
It’s been a very long day. I’m very tired. But I’m still very glad that people are reaching out to me to set the record straight. If you have anything you’d like to tell me regarding this case, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: June 17, 9:15am CST
As you can see, I was up very late last night and had planned to sleep in today but my phone began blowing up with emails and messages this morning so here I am. And I’m glad to be here, too, because the information I’ve been getting is giving me a lot of insight to this case.
First off, I’d like to add something to the fetish social media post I shared from Gypsy and Godejohn’s page. Many people have pointed out that it seems Godejohn is actually suggesting that it might be HIM in the submissive role, not Gypsy as I previously speculated. He notes, “We can related [sic] to this from opposites of it Sweety.” (This was done from his actual Facebook account, not the shared one.) The photo shared shows a beautiful woman embracing a monster with the caption “Every beauty needs her beast…” Was this insinuating that Gypsy was actually holding the dominant role, not Godejohn? It makes sense if the dreadful treatment she supposedly endured at the hands of her mother is true; Gypsy might be yearning to take control over someone else for a change.
Secondly, I’d like to address the email I received last night regarding Gypsy’s frantic attempt to get to a hospital to see a male friend. I shared it shortly before bed and was exhausted so upon getting some rest and re-reading it I think there are some important things to note:
- Gypsy was attempting to prove her true age to outsiders, apparently causing Dee Dee to “cause quite a scene”.
- She was wearing no glasses and walking very easily.
- It’s debatable whether she and this man were in a relationship.
This saga could’ve ended there, but someone from a certain Springfield community reached out to me this morning and clarified:
If you don’t feel like reading all that, here are the cliff notes:
- The story about Gypsy begging for a ride to visit a man in the hospital has been corroborated by multiple sources.
- She met this man at a local event.
- She seems to have indeed showed people her ID (and/or birth certificate) and try to reveal her true age to others.
- It appears there were falsified documents with her younger “age” on them.
- She snuck out after Dee Dee took her “sleep meds”, stealing money and Vicodin.
- Dee Dee wanted to meet this man, who was in his 30s and a “ladies man”.
- When she did go to meet him at a local Wal-Mart, it’s rumored she brought a hammer.
- After being forced to apologize, Gypsy confided that “all she wanted was to be a real girl and fall in love”.
- Gypsy was flirting with men online in their 30s and 40s.
More to come. Still combing through the messages and emails. Everything I’m seeing seems to point to one possibility: Gypsy was indeed a woman being kept against her will and treated like a sick child. As I noted to my anonymous friend: “We need to know what was going on in her (Gypsy’s) head to understand her crime, I think. Understand, not condone.”
Update: June 17, 11:05am CST
Another anonymous tipper sent me this email:
I found these 3 different names for Dee Dee. Definitely disturbing to think how many different people and organizations have crossed paths with them.
This page shows very similar information for Ms. Claudine Blanchard, Dee Blancharde, and (strangely)
Ms. Debbie Akers. This last one could be a mistake but much of the information, as I said, is similar. (I have noted later in this article that the information is, in fact, a coincidence and not tied to the Blanchardes.)
Was this part of Dee Dee’s alleged financial fraud?
Also, the same person who sent me the email last night regarding Gypsy’s trip to the hospital to visit a male friend followed up with this:
She (Gypsy) had fixated on him rather hard after they’d become acquainted on Facebook and she considered him her boyfriend, although that was not the case.
He got into a fight with three other men in a completely unrelated incident and that’s what caused him to be hospitalized. After she showed up to my house with him from the hospital she told us many stories about her mother, how controlling she was, etc, and that she was trying to get away from her and, in my opinion, was convinced that my friend would be her knight in shining armor to sweep her away to safety.
This was my first and only time meeting this girl, but another roommate of mine in the house had met her previously under the cover story (i.e. she was 15-16, at the time, supposedly disabled, et cetera) and contacted a friend of Dee Dee’s because she was concerned that my friend, who was just over 30 at the time, was essentially engaging, or would be engaging in congress with a minor. When Dee Dee showed up, she caused a huge scene, had another I.D. that stated that she (Gypsy) was 15-16 and that the other ID, being the one that stated she was 18, had come about due to missing records from Katrina. Gypsy and Dee Dee got into a rather heated argument, of the kind one might expect between a mother and a teenager who feels that she (Dee Dee) was too controlling, after which Dee Dee took Gypsy home without ever contacting the authorities.
This all matches up with my private message with the anonymous tipper who said they had “helped get Gypsy back”. Truly sad to see there were people who cared about Gypsy but unaware of how dire the situation really was.
Update: June 17, 11:25am CST
This tweet from a local Springfield news station includes a video that shows Gypsy walking into court. She appears to be quite healthy, very steady, and extremely emotional.
I know that her actions were reprehensible but I have to say it — my heart aches for this girl. What a horrible situation.
Update: June 17, 12:21pm CST
On my Facebook author profile, I received this message:
Wow. This really shows how far Gypsy was going to try to assert herself as an independent woman. This community (that appears very tight-knit and seemed to care about Gypsy) is truly coming together to find some of the missing pieces in this case. If you know who this man is whose name should be cleared, please email me at email@example.com.
Update: June 17, 12:31pm CST
A commenter brought up a very good point: is Gypsy faking that mousy, childlike voice that we heard in the court video and other footage? I reached out to my sources and here’s what they said:
To my recollection, it was just how she spoke.
So either Gypsy has become used to speaking this way or it’s really her natural voice. There’s also a chance she was stunted in her growth and never developed an adult tone.
Update: June 17, 1:48pm CST
God, this stuff just keeps coming. I’ve got a lot more on deck so hang tight but I have to eat or I’ll die so here’s an interesting tidbit from Stephanie Waldron, who kindly reached out to me via Facebook. She had this to share:
Stephanie said she was comfortable sharing her name and photo. The photo of Gypsy with Miranda seems to be gone, but she sent this along:
Interesting to note that Gypsy claims to have had backstage access to every Miranda Lambert concert. I admire Miranda’s kindness but it appears she was taken advantage of, unfortunately.
Update: June 17, 3:20pm CST
Well, thanks to a few Springfield friends I was able to track down the man who was falsely accused of being inappropriate with a minor (Gypsy). Mind you, at the time she was considered to be 14-15 when in reality she was 18-19. What he did was not a crime, and though he is not interested in speaking with me — can you blame him, this is a huge mess — I’d like to restate the fact that the man accused of inappropriate behavior with Gypsy was not, in fact, committing a crime. I will not be divulging his information; let’s move on to other subjects in the case.
For example, Gypsy’s name. It was brought to my attention in the comments but it was also sent to me via a reddit message:
This is certainly an interesting insight into the way Dee Dee chose to raise Gypsy. Was she truly inspired by the film? Was that clue right in front of us the whole time?
I was also sent this email by a woman who’d like to be referred to as “Ivy”:
I find this a fascinating look behind the scenes, especially if we consider the twist that it was Gypsy who was doing the dominating, not Godejohn. Was the murder an exercise in their relationship dynamic? (Please do not think this is a commentary on all BDSM relationships; obviously, this is an abnormal case.)
Update: June 17, 3:57pm CST
An anonymous tipster sent me this conversation between personal connections of the Blanchardes:
This is interesting on a whole new level. There were people who knew the Blanchardes who were AWARE she could walk? This is the first I’m hearing of it, and who knows — it could be that they’re SAYING they knew when they didn’t, but it would be of note to find out that there were people in on their scheme.
Also, that comment about what Dee Dee said to the connection is bone-chilling. Let me just highlight that one for you:
“She told me once she would only let Gyp go when she was dead.”
Well, it certainly came to that, didn’t it?
Update: June 17, 4:36pm CST
I was forwarded an article from 2001 where Gypsy was made “Queen For A Day” in Chackbay, Louisiana. It reads:
Gypsy has a lot she could complain about. Suffering from poor physical and mental development, she is both vision and hearing impaired. She can no longer walk, is fed through a feeding tube and has some brain damage from seizures.
Because of her health, Gypsy spends a lot of time at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, her mother said. During overnight hospital visits, Pitre-Blanchard stays at the Ronald McDonald House.
“We’ve been going to the Ronald McDonald House since she was three days old,” she said.
It was employees there who asked Gypsy to be the honorary queen at the Krewe of Mid-City parade, slated to roll through New Orleans Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The child-oriented parade boasts an honorary king or queen from Ronald McDonald House every year.
Gypsy said she is looking forward to her duties, which include sitting in the reviewing stand and participating in the toast to the King and Queen.
Despite her health, which has steadily declined over the years, Gypsy still tries to maintain a normal life. She spends a lot of time with her grandfather, Claude Pitre, whom she considers her “best friend.”
Since she was three days old? Family members have stated that there was nothing wrong with Gypsy at birth. And has brain damage ever been brought up? And also, MENTAL development? I don’t think that was ever part of Dee Dee’s story before. This has been going on for a very long time.
Update: June 17, 6:05pm CST
I’m taking a break for a bit but there’s still more to come, believe it or not. I need to have a drink and rest my head so I can continue to power through this investigation. We’ve made major headway today, and I have to thank my friends at the Facebook group Dee Dee and Gypsy Blancharde – Case Discussion, as well as everyone who’s reached out to me privately. It takes a lot of courage to do that and these people are truly passionate about getting to the bottom of this case.
Additionally, I feel that due to this advantage of having people come to me anonymously, this article has more information than many news sources. I am attempting to keep it accurate, concise, and unbiased. I would appreciate it immensely if you’d share it with any friends, family, or news sources you think could benefit from it. This is a story that needs to be told and I don’t think it’s getting the media attention it deserves.
Update: June 18, 6:20am CST
Good morning. I’m at it again.
My inbox is full and my Facebook is blowing up. There’s a lot more to bring you. Stay tuned.
Update: June 18, 6:38am CST
In regards to my earlier notation about Debbie Akers and Dee Dee’s supposed aliases having similar information: I have been informed that Debbie Akers has no relation or ties to the Blanchardes other than Habitat For Humanity. This is why I originally only noted that it was interesting and didn’t make any assumptions — Ms. Akers has nothing to do with this case and it was merely a coincidence.
Update: June 18, 6:52am CST
A local Springfield news station has confirmed what I speculated days ago: Gypsy and her boyfriend Godejohn met in 2012. From KSPR:
The private messages — obtained by KSPR News — show Gypsy was in a secret relationship with Nicholas Godejohn for more than two years. The Greene County Sheriff’s Office used the messages to track down the couple in Wisconsin after they went missing.
Aleah Woodmansee said she’s known Gypsy since they were kids – they both grew up in the Habitat for Humanity neighborhood in northwest Springfield.
In October 2014, Gypsy began messaging her through a secret Facebook page under the name Emma Rose.
“Hi Aleah its Gypsy,” the first post read. “This is my personal account my mom is still over protective so she don’t, know about this account.”
Then Gypsy began writing about her life:
“I’m 18. Nick my boyfriend is 24, we met on a Christian Singles site, and what made me fall for him was when I told him I’m in a wheel chair and iv got medical issues and I was bracing myself for him to be like other guys I was expecting him to either pitty me or say oh goodbye ..but his response was “I don’t care about that ur and angel in my eyes and you’re perfect.”
“He plans on poping the question sometime in 2016, and we want the wedding date to be in December of 2017, if all goes good we want a snow wedding in a gazebo with red and white roses.”
They had even more plans.
“If we have a son he will be named after Nick so Nicholas Paul Godejohn Jr. And if a girl Gabriella Gypsy Godejohn,” wrote Gypsy in a message. “We are very serious we say we aren’t dateing we are courting. Cuz we are both Catholic Christians.”
Interesting to note that the messages from 2012 — presumably between Gypsy and Godejohn — are not included in this article. Also, Gypsy confirms Dee Dee’s overprotectiveness (which I don’t think is up for debate by now).
I’d also like to note a friendly Facebook user pointed out that Dee Dee had, in fact, said that Gypsy had mental disabilities. Thanks to this eagle-eyed tipster, check out the screenshot from my own article (since the former website has been removed):
“MR” apparently refers to the term “mental retardation”, which I was not aware of and thus completely overlooked. So it’s important to note Dee Dee WAS claiming Gypsy had some mental disabilities, though she referred to them as “mild”. I’d be interested to see what a psych evaluation reveals.
Update: June 18, 9:43am CST
I’ve received an anonymous tip via Facebook regarding what might have been Gypsy’s last public outing on June 5th:
They were manic with excitement at this event, hugging and inviting people to their house for movie night. They hung out for quite a while. The woman in the picture told me that Dee Dee had told her that she was robbed the night before and the money she was saving to send Gypsy to Camp Barnabas and a convention(?) was stolen. I thought that was terrible and thought about seeing if she could get a scholarship to Barnabas. After the events of the past few days, we suspect the “robbery” was just Dee Dee in full force scam mode, trying to elicit sympathy, and it was working.
Update: June 18, 9:52am CST
I’m currently working on an update that could bring an entirely new angle that I haven’t covered to this case. However, it’s going to take some time and research so that I don’t make an idiot out of myself when speaking on a topic I’m not an expert in. So hang in there.
Until then, another kind Facebook user alerted me to this:
Third Floor John is a band that participate with the charity called The Songs Of Love Foundation. From their website:
The Songs of Love Foundation is a charitable organization devoted to providing personalized songs to children and young adults facing difficult medical challenges. Their network of songwriters lovingly dedicate their time and talents to create unique lyrics and melodies which highlight the distinct personality of each person.
And wouldn’t you know it, Gypsy has a song written about her. From the preview, here are some of the lyrics to “Gypsy Rose Blanchard”:
MontyMomzie love Gypsy Rose
Mickey and Minnie love Gypsy Rose
Everyone else does, I suppose
Everyone loves Gypsy Rose
Just like many other charitable organizations it seems Songs of Love and Third Floor John were taken with Gypsy. It’s sad to see how these lyrics are now somewhat haunting.
Update: June 18, 10:53am CST
Before I tackle this subject I want to make two things very clear. First, I am not the first to break the news on this theory: I was directed by a Facebook user to this video from local Springfield station KY3. They also added their own theories as someone who has had experience with these disorders in patients. Second, I am not an expert in this subject — I have no background in psychology and I’m pretty sure I failed that course in college so I’m trying to only use verifiable sources. This is not a certainty or even a speculation; it’s more another angle that should be considered in the case of Gypsy Blancharde.
“It’s a disorder where a person intentionally creates symptoms in another person, so that they themselves can take on that caregiver role,” Rost said.
While some of Dee Dee Blancharde’s actions seem like Munchausen by proxy, Rost said her behavior doesn’t fit the bill for the disease.
“For Munchausen to be present we say there can not be monetary gain involved.” Rost said. “The other possible option for this is malingering, and malingering is just when someone intentionally creates symptoms to gain something.” Malingering is not a mental illness.
But Rost says psychology is very complicated, and we may get a clearer picture of Dee Dee and Gypsy’s mental states as the investigation goes on.
So, according to psychology professor Ann Rost, there’s a chance it might not even be Munchausen by Proxy at all; rather, a different disorder called malingering. From Psychology Today:
Malingering is the purposeful production of falsely or grossly exaggerated complaints with the goal of receiving a reward. These may include money, insurance settlement, drugs or the avoidance of punishment, work, jury duty, the military or some other kind of service.
A malingerer may respond to items in a certain manner to attain release from incarceration. One example is the case of Ganser syndrome, which is when a person tailors their answers to fake psychosis. This syndrome is also known as approximation, or nonsense syndrome.
Malingering can lead to abuse of the medical system, with unnecessary tests being performed and time being wasted by the clinician as opposed to those with legitimate health problems.
A malingerer may attempt to raise the temperature of a thermometer through heat from a lamplight or alter a urine sample by adding sand to it; however, if the malingerer is more discreet, the clinician will have great difficulty gathering evidence for an accurate diagnosis.
I agree with Rost, though it’s interesting that it seems usually a malingerer would be the person suffering from the disease, not necessarily the person in CHARGE of the disease. From what I have seen in my research I do not believe the falsified disease was Gypsy’s idea initially, but who knows whether she went along with it — whether to enjoy the benefits it brought her, because she was afraid of her mother, or she had simply not known what else to do.
Update: June 18, 11:41am CST
Um. I guess I have someone in the case discussion group to “thank” for this link, the full audio for the song mentioned above titled “Gypsy Rose Blanchard”. I have tried not to be snarky up to this point (which is incredibly hard for me, I’ll have you know) but SWEET JESUS this song is creepy in context:
Were it not for everything happening it would be sweet, a loving tribute to a sunny girl. After all this… as noted in our group, “That will be rolling as the credits are at the end of this horror movie we all will soon be watching.”
Update: June 18, 12:04pm CST
I reached out to Aleah Woodmansee (mentioned above in the article from KSPR), a girl who says she was very close with Gypsy Blancharde. I’d like to note it was very brave of her to respond to me — she’s going through a very hard time right now, I’m sure — and that it’s admirable she’s doing what she can to help with the case. She allowed me to share this information with you; here’s what she had to say:
The incident she’s referencing is one I didn’t include from the original article:
Gypsy wrote about a time she ran away from home.
“Can I tell u a secret, back in 2011. I ran away from home I met a pedtifile online…He took be back to his friends place and made me sleep in his bed but when he got handy I freaked out.”
The reason I didn’t originally include it is because I didn’t believe it to be true; it could’ve been referencing the earlier incident with the man who’d been falsely accused and I didn’t want to bring any more attention to that subject. That being said, why would she have told her that she was meeting with a pedophile, especially when Gypsy was apparently open with close friends about her true age? Does this show she was not in her right mind or brainwashed by Dee Dee? There is so much to this case, especially with so many people involved.
I am still on top of this case but updates may be scattered; contrary to what you see here I do have a life and obligations and those obligations think I need to take a shower. And they’re right.
Please continue to reach out if you have any information on this case. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: June 18, 3:13pm CST
I’ve decided to start including my updates towards the top as the article is getting quite long and I’d like to spare you all from scrolling. As I update, I will move the previous one towards the bottom so it still reads chronologically.
An anonymous source sent me this screenshot of a conversation that was held in a group I am not privy to:
This is interesting as it backs up the information I got from Bobby Pitre, Dee Dee’s nephew, who recalls that Dee Dee’s mother acted towards her very much the same way as Dee Dee acted towards Gypsy. Could it be that her mother’s behavior influenced her to the woman she became? Certainly seems likely if this is true.
I was also sent this photo of Dee Dee’s mother, Emma (right), to whom Dee Dee bears a striking resemblance:
And speaking of striking resemblances, check out this photo of Dee Dee (left) senior year of high school:
Wow. I am blown away by how similar they look. This takes “like mother, like daughter” to a whole new level.
June 18, 5:33pm CST
I was forwarded this screenshot of the obituary of Emma Pitre, Dee Dee’s mother:
I have been so swamped with the outpouring of information (thanks again, guys) that I am currently unaware of the exact date of death for Dee Dee Blancharde — if you know, please send me the information — but the last I saw, it was debatable that Dee Dee had been dead for almost 48 hours.
From what I know she was last seen on Wednesday, June 10. (Correction: I have been informed that according to the Casenet article, the date of the crime was actually June 9, 2015.) I just find this interesting that Dee Dee was killed one day after THE DAY OF the death of her own mother, who she seemed to take after in many ways.
I will be taking a much-needed break for part of the evening but please keep sending in tips and information. You’ve all been so helpful, you’ll never know how grateful I am to have such passionate people helping such an important cause. You can contact me at email@example.com.
June 19, 11:24am CST
This morning I conducted an interview with international expert in factitious disorder, Munchausen syndrome, Munchausen by proxy, and malingering, Dr. Marc D. Feldman. Author of the book Playing Sick?: Untangling the Web of Munchausen Syndrome, Munchausen by Proxy, Malingering, and Factitious Disorder, he was suggested as someone who might be able to shed some light on the speculation of Dee Dee’s condition. From his website:
Dr. Feldman’s work has been the subject of stories in more than 200 magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today. Among Dr. Feldman’s television and radio appearances are Good Morning America, Larry King, Dateline, 20/20, ABC World News Tonight, Court TV, CNN, Discovery Health, MSNBC Nightly News, Fox News, CBC News, CBS News, Donahue, Dr. Phil, and National Public Radio. He is listed in The Best Doctors in America.
Dr. Feldman said he became aware of the story possibly being connected to Munchausen by Proxy but initially dismissed it, as Munchausen by Proxy is not often connected to murder; he also mentioned that Gypsy’s appearance convinced him that she was probably actually sick and/or disabled (as so many of us did).
When I reached out to him, he looked at the case and has now been able to add his expertise to the situation. Dr. Feldman believes that Dee Dee Blancharde most likely had both Munchausen by Proxy disorder AND Malingering by Proxy. In the past, these two were not often diagnosed together as the distinction between them is whether the gain is for money or attention/sympathy. However, a subject’s desire for these things can wax and wane, resulting in both disorders at once.
Once again: Munchausen by Proxy is when a person feigns, exaggerates, or induces illness in another person for attention or sympathy. Malingering by Proxy is when a person feigns, exaggerates, or induces illness in another person for monetary gain. In his opinion, Dee Dee Blancharde “was a bottomless pit” for all of these benefits.
Dr. Feldman mentioned that in his line of work, Malingering by Proxy is very common. “It’s very frustrating to have tiny children brought in who were overactive, but the mother was clearly going for disability payments,” he said. “They become very disappointed to hear ‘you have a perfectly normal child’ when they should’ve been relieved.”
“The Blancharde case takes that to the Nth degree,” he added.
He also said that he noted the trips to Disney World, donations, and Habitat for Humanity house. Dr. Feldman said all of these things are typical in a Munchausen by Proxy case. “I’ve joked in the past, and I hope it’s a joke, that the majority of Make A Wish participants are victims of Munchausen by Proxy.”
Dr. Feldman says that in most of these situations, there is no father figure present — as was the case with Gypsy — because the aspect of another parent picking up on the abusive behavior isn’t there. Essentially, the abuser is able to get away with it.
I asked what he thought of the murder, considering it’s not a typical aspect in his area of expertise. “I’ve seen situations where the abused have an opportunity to escape their abuse and they do it — even if it’s in a violent way.” I went on to ask if this form of abuse would have any bearing on Gypsy as an adult. He told me that victims of munchausen by proxy often have PTSD when adults, as well as problems with losing touch with reality.
This brings a very important note to Gypsy’s mental state when committing the crime. If she was suffering from PTSD or unable to place her actions as having an effect on her reality, that’s a much different situation than calculated, cold-blooded murder.
“Her victimization is a mitigating factor,” Dr. Feldman said. In regards to what he suggests for Gypsy’s defense: “I do think a good thorough psychiatric evaluation needs to take place.”
June 19, 1:47pm CST
Yesterday, the writer of the “Gypsy Rose Blanchard” charity song reached out to me. This is what he had to say:
In July 2007 I was assigned and accepted the task of writing the song for Gypsy Rose. Songwriters are given a profile sheet with a list of interests, hobbies, family and friends to use in the song. Also included is a child’s diagnosis. Gypsy’s profile sheet was submitted and signed by Clauddinnea Blancharde.
You may be interested to know that the diagnosis listed on the profile sheet listed: “paraplegic, muscular dystrophy, hearing impaired, epilepsy, vision impaired”. She clearly sounded like a legitimate candidate deserving to have a song written for her.
Please let your readers know that the Songs of Love Foundation is a wonderful non-profit organization which has done a tremendous amount of good for a lot of deserving children. The “Medicine of Music” is very powerful in the difficult lives of these kids. Having their own song boosts their self esteem and helps them get through painful and invasive medical procedures.
I hope it was clear that I did not condemn the organization or the songwriters/performers; they were victims in this situation of fraud just like every other charity and person who helped the Blanchardes. I admire them for what they do for truly sick children and believe they were duped just like the rest of the world.
This morning, he followed up with a statement that I feel is very insightful:
In retrospect, I have no regrets about us having put our time and energy into sending love to Gypsy. Apparently, she needed it more than we knew and for reasons none of us ever dreamed of.
June 19, 3:31pm CST
I was sent this anonymous tip from someone who claims to have been close with the Blanchardes:
This had been building for some time. It was inevitable. Upon growing up (regardless of the fact it was being hidden), even the benefits of her “illness” weren’t enough to stifle her growing need for independence from her mother. And as we all know, Dee Dee said the only thing that would separate them was death.
Additionally, Gypsy has waived her rights to extradition proceedings and will be returning to Springfield, MO. No word on what date that will be.
Details and information are slowly winding down, as they do with these cases, but please continue to check back. I will make updates as I can and you better believe I’ll be covering the trial — if, indeed, there is one.
June 23, 7:32am CST
I was directed towards these photos in the closed Facebook group, shared by someone who claims to be related to Godejohn:
Okay. Wow. If it’s truly her, these photos show a much different Gypsy than has been portrayed in past interviews and photos. And let me be frank — I’m not passing any judgement on them. For a woman of her age, these are completely acceptable. In fact, there’s a term for them: cosplay. For those who don’t know, cosplay is a hobby where one dresses up (usually by creating the costume themselves) as a favorite character from a movie, television show, or comic book. This all falls in line with Gypsy’s apparent interest in sci-fi and conventions. And I’m pretty sure I know who Gypsy is cosplaying:
That’s Harley Quinn, a character in the Batman universe who doubles as both protagonist and villain (depending on her mood). This version of Harley is the updated, edgier version — I prefer the ’90s animated style.
Anyway, let’s compare faces:
They certainly look similar. Again, I’m trying to keep from wild speculation, but the fact that these photos were available on one of the pages that was previously thought to be a secret account kept by Gypsy — not to mention the similar faces and interest in conventions — it would definitely seem that this is Gypsy. Also, that knife she’s holding… any chance that could be the murder weapon?
June 25, 8:43am CST
No exclusive updates as of yet; however, there have been some new developments that I thought I’d outline here. According to a local Springfield newspaper, Gypsy’s health was questioned 5 years ago:
A report obtained by the News-Leader on Tuesday shows that an unnamed person called authorities in 2009 because of concerns that Gypsy was not sick and might be in danger.
The person who called authorities in 2009 is not named in the report, but that person told deputies he or she had checked on Gypsy and could not find “any symptoms that would support what (Dee Dee) alleges to be wrong with her daughter.”
The unnamed caller told deputies that Gypsy had inconsistent birth dates and lacked a medical diagnosis. The caller wanted Gypsy checked on to make sure she was not an endangered runaway or missing juvenile, according to the report.
A deputy responded to the family’s home on North Volunteer Way on Oct. 26, 2009, and interviewed the Blanchardes, the report says.
Dee Dee told the deputy that she and her daughter came to Springfield from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
When confronted about the inconsistent information Dee Dee had provided to the 911 caller, Dee Dee told the deputy that she was divorced and she had changed her daughter’s information so that her ex-husband would not be able to find them. Dee Dee told the deputy she was afraid of her ex-husband, according to the report.
The deputy wrote in his report that Gypsy “does suffer from some type of mental handicap.”
The deputy determined based on a Social Security card that Gypsy was 18 years old in 2009.
Well, there you have it. For all of you asking “Why didn’t anyone do anything? Why didn’t anyone catch on to Dee Dee’s scheme?” it would seem that at least one person did. Unfortunately, Dee Dee’s deception was simply too successful.
The story goes on:
A second police report obtained by the News-Leader on Tuesday details a 2010 call to the pink house on Volunteer Way after Dee Dee allegedly assaulted a pizza delivery driver.
That report, from August 2010, says that Dee Dee grabbed a Domino’s pizza delivery driver by the collar after the driver refused to accept a gift certificate from an out-of-state franchise.
The report says employees at the business had problems with Dee Dee in the past.
This sheds some frightening light on the situation. When confronted with resistance to her scam, Dee Dee reacted with anger and violence. If she’d resort to getting physical with someone over refusing to accept a coupon, how do you think she’d react when her meal ticket (Gypsy) tried to resist or, God forbid, leave? Gypsy’s not a big girl and Dee Dee definitely could have been intimidating if angry. To me, this answers one of the other questions that keeps coming up: “Why didn’t Gypsy just leave?”
All of her escape attempts were foiled, from what we know. Every time she tried to leave she was returned to her mother. Who knows what went on in that little pink house when there was no one else around.
From the same news source, authorities seized a number of items from the Blancharde residence. These include:
- a cigarette butt
- a piece of gum
- a bottle cap
- four spray bottles
- numerous blood swabs
- a credit card
- an Electronic Benefit Transfer card in Dee Dee’s name
- Dee Dee’s driver’s license
- medication belonging to Gypsy
- a safe
- baby wipes
- a Barney stuffed animal
- a phone
- a nightgown
- a roll of paper towels
- a Nissan Cube vehicle
- two wallets belonging to Dee Dee
- numerous wigs
- a water bottle
- cleaning products
- photo albums
- miscellaneous records
- newspaper articles
- a bus pass for Gypsy
- numerous kitchen knives
- three small swords
- several medical books
Some of those items seem pretty mundane (a bottle cap?) and others seem downright strange (three small swords?) but I can only assume they have some importance to the case if they were seized.
Additionally, the Casenet file has been updated — the first hearing will take place tomorrow, June 26 2015 at 8:00am. This means at some point between then and now Gypsy will be extradited from Wisconsin. I’m sure that information is being kept on the downlow, but in my opinion once Gypsy gets back to Springfield this case will begin to get the attention it deserves.
Stay tuned; I’ll be covering everything that I can.
June 25, 5:48pm CST
Breaking news. At the Waukesha County Correctional Facilities website, Gypsy had been listed as a current inmate of the County Jail. Up until 5:45pm today:
This means, most likely, that Gypsy is currently being extradited to Springfield, MO for her hearing tomorrow morning at 8am.
June 29, 10:48am CST
This morning, Gypsy Blancharde plead not guilty to the murder of her mother, Claudinnea Blancharde.
This is a very interesting development. As we all know, Gypsy confessed to the murder when she and boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn were apprehended. This not guilty plea means the defense will most likely try to prove what I’ve outlined here: that Gypsy was a victim of child abuse and took the only way out she thought she could.
It’s also been reported that she requested her case be severed from Godejohn’s; I’m not sure how that would be possible as the two worked together in the murder, but we’ll see how that plays out.
Another article states that the murder was planned on the website ChristianDatingForFree.com:
Authorities seized 26 files of communication last week between Gypsy and Godejohn on the website ChristianDatingForFree.com. Documents say Godejohn told authorities he and Gypsy met on the website and they communicated there about needing to kill Gypsy’s mother — Clauddinnea “Dee Dee” Blanchard — so that he and Gypsy could be together.
This could be potentially devastating to Gypsy’s case — child abuse aside, if these communications prove that Gypsy had time to premeditate the murder, it could paint a picture of someone very much in their right mind. However, things could go another way as well; depending on what was said, it might do the exact opposite and show that Gypsy really didn’t have a grasp on reality at the time. I’m sure it will all come out in the trial, which will be moving forward after her not guilty plea.
I doubt we’ll have many more updates between now and the trial, which I plan to cover. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a change of venue, either — since the Blanchardes were so well-known in the Springfield area, I think it would be hard to get an unbiased jury in Greene County. The trial may need to be held in another city… crossing my fingers for St. Louis!