Gypsy Blanchard planned her mother’s murder eight years ago. She wants to meet Taylor Swift upon her release

Gypsy Rose Blanchard made headlines in 2015 after her then-boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn killed her abusive mother at her request. Eight years into her sentence for second-degree murder, Blanchard will be released from prison. Andrea Blanco writes

Thursday 28 December 2023 12:49 GMT
Eight years into her sentence for second-degree murder, Gypsy Rose Blanchard will be released from prison
Eight years into her sentence for second-degree murder, Gypsy Rose Blanchard will be released from prison (Greene County Sheriff’s Office )

For most of her life, freedom has been a distant concept for Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Until the age of 24, she was psychologically and physically abused by her own mother and forced to pretend she suffered from a plethora of ailments ranging from asthma to terminal leukaemia.

Blanchard was manipulated into thinking she was still a child and coerced to act the part — which often entailed invasive medical procedures to treat her supposed conditions. When she tried to escape, Blanchard’s mother, Claudine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, reportedly chained her with handcuffs and a dog leash.

The now-32-year-old had a taste of freedom in June 2015, when she escaped her home in Springfield, Missouri, with her then-boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn, whom she had met online. But just a few days later, Blanchard and Godejohn were arrested in Wisconsin after Dee Dee was found brutally stabbed in her home.

The case made national headlines and an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murder uncovered Dee Dee’s web of lies and the abuse that Blanchard had endured since birth at the hands of her mother.

Blanchard was sentenced to 10 years in prison after taking a plea deal for planning her mother’s murder, while Godejohn was sentenced to life in prison for carrying out the slaying. But eight years into her sentence, prison officials announced that Blanchard would be released early on 28 December. 

The newly-freed convicted murderer, whose story has been the subject of several films and docuseries, has already announced a book deal and noted in a recent interview that she hopes to meet pop star Taylor Swift before the year ends.

Here’s everything we know about the case:

A never-ending list of illnesses

Dee Dee forced Blanchard to pretend she was disabled since childhood. Neighbours of the mother and daughter told the media in the aftermath of Blanchard’s arrest that she always used a wheelchair and that Dee Dee had claimed her daughter had leukaemia, muscular dystrophy and several other chronic conditions,

Investigators later determined that Dee Dee may have made those claims throughout the years to obtain financial gain and sympathy. She also alleged she and her daughters were victims of Hurricane Katrina and were displaced by the disaster in 2005.

As a result of that story, the charity Habitat for Humanity built a small home with a wheelchair ramp in Springfield for the Blanchards, according to The Associated Press. Dee Dee reportedly told both her daughter and her doctors that Blanchard’s birth certificate was lost during Katrina, seizing on the opportunity to dupe everyone into believing that Blanchard was younger than her real age.

Dee Dee had claimed Blanchard had been suffering from a host of illnesses, including leukemia as a young child, and later muscular dystrophy (Screenshot)

The mother and daughter also received trips to Disney World and met country singer Miranda Lambert through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, according to a 2017 Buzzfeed News article.

The pair’s resilience and determination to persevere through adversity had captivated the local community, which was always willing to lend a hand, whether it was picking up groceries for Dee Dee or dropping Blanchard off at her medical appointments.

Their story was even featured in local media segments, with Dee Dee and Blanchard speaking about the former’s many conditions but positive outlook on life.

After the truth was uncovered by authorities, Munchausen by proxy syndrome was offered as an explanation for Dee Dee’s lies. The syndrome is a psychological condition in which a person acts as if an individual in their care has a physical or mental illness despite being in good health.

Their story was even featured in local media segments, with Dee Dee and Blanchard speaking about the former’s many conditions but positive outlook on life. (KTVT)

In a 2019 interview with ABC News, Blanchard said that as she grew older, she realised that her mother was lying about many of her conditions. Blanchard alleged that Dee Dee wouldn’t feed her for days, would hit her and chained her to a bed after she tried to escape from their home in 2011.

In addition to the psychological and physical abuse, Blanchard has claimed that her mother forced her to take medication that she didn’t need. Some of the medication caused her teeth to fall out.

“There are certain illnesses that I know I didn’t have, I know I didn’t need the feeding tube,” Blanchard said. “I knew that I could eat, and I knew that I could walk, but I believed my mother when she said I had leukaemia.”

Blanchard plans Dee Dee’s murder

Blanchard met Godejohn on an online dating site. They exchanged messages for two years and grew closer before they met in person in 2015, according to People.

Shortly before the murder, Blanchard told a neighbour that she was in love with a man she had met online. Godejohn reportedly also introduced Blanchard to BDSM and the couple eventually came up with a plan to murder Dee Dee so Blanchard could be free.

Godejohn admitted to police that he travelled to Springfield to kill Dee Dee at the request of her daughter. He stabbed Dee Dee at least 17 times as Blanchard hid in a bathroom and heard her mother screaming during the assault.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard pleaded gulty to second-degree murder in her mother’s slaying (Greene County Sheriff’s Office )

Godejohn and Blanchard reportedly stole money from Dee Dee and stayed in Springfield for a couple of days as they figured out what to do next. They then travelled to Wisconsin by bus.

After authorities were alerted of a post on Dee Dee’s Facebook page reading, “That B*** is dead!”, her body was found on 14 June 2015.

The community was initially concerned that Blanchard was in danger but days later, Blanchard and Godejohn were arrested and charged with murder.

Investigators discovered that Dee Dee had been lying about her daughter’s age and that Blanchard had none of the physical or mental health issues.

Blanchard’s ex boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn (Greene County Sheriff’s Office )

“We really don’t know the true background of this family,” then-Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott told the press at the time. “This is a tragic, tragic event surrounded by mystery and public deception.”

Blanchard pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Godejohn was eventually found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for murder and 25 years for armed criminal action.

Early release and plans to meet Taylor Swift

Blanchard was released on 28 December, after serving 85 per cent of her sentence.

She told TMZ that she had already bought tickets for a Kansas City Chiefs game on New Year’s Eve, where she hoped to meet Taylor Swift, who is dating the team’s tight end Travis Kelce.

Blanchard said Swift’s lyrics helped her through her trauma and her time in prison, noting also that she was planning to buy tickets for the singer’s October 2024 tour stop in New Orleans.

Penguin Random House has announced that it’d be publishing Released: Conversations on the Eve of Freedom, a retelling of Blanchard’s difficult upbringing and the physical and psychological abuse she endured at the hands of her mother — but this time in her own words. The e-book is slated to be published on 9 January.

“Gypsy saw her story told by others again and again in the media, from news reports and podcasts to TV series,” a news release read. “Now, granted early parole and preparing to start a new life, she’s free to speak directly to her supporters and the world.”

Blanchard’s story was the subject of the 2017 HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest and Hulu’s 2019 true-crime miniseries The Act.

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