Dee Dee Blancharde Growing Up
Dee Dee Blanchard’s relationship with her family was heavily strained. Her own father hardly showed her any affection as a good father should. Another relative remembered young Dee Dee as being a “really weird girl” and said she may have been bipolar or had multiple personality disorder. Even worse, several relatives allege that Dee Dee killed her own mother by slowly starving her to death, and even attempted to kill her stepmother with rat poison. As an adult, she had worked for a time as a nurse’s aide and was well-versed in medical subjects. Though she was known for her big smile and penchant for wearing a big silver cross necklace, it turns out that this woman had a sick fascination with watching the suffering of her own family, be it her mother or even her own daughter.
What Was Wrong with Gypsy?
They were having trouble pinpointing what was wrong with Gypsy, leading Dee Dee to think that there was just something wrong on a chromosome level, and thus wrongfully downgrading her own love for her daughter. They lived in public housing while Gypsy was in and out of different children’s hospitals. Things changed completely in 2005 when their home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Dee Dee conveniently told doctors that all of Gypsy’s medical records had been destroyed in the storm. The pair went to a special needs shelter for help and that was where they met a sympathetic doctor, Janet Jordan. Dr. Jordan suggested that they make a big move to Missouri. This story caught the attention of the media and several charities, who flew the Blanchardes to a new home in Missouri before they were given a brand new Habitat For Humanity home in Springfield, Mo. They were away from their past and could question the health claim anymore.
Life as a Very Sick Girl
The Only Escape From A World of Isolation
Other than the hospital, Gypsy would only spend time at the Habitat for Humanity home. Dee felt that she was too weak to attend public school, she she was homeschooled instead. She was never given to opportunity to make friends, even from those also in a similar situation. Perhaps most puzzlingly, however, were the home’s blacked-out windows, hiding Gypsy from the outside world. For fun, though, Gypsy liked to dress up in costumes and wigs and even attended Science Fiction conventions — always with mother by her side. The house was equipped with a number of special features, such as a long ramp so Gypsy could easily come and go as needed for her many doctor appointments and hospital stays. It was also had with a Jacuzzi that would help Gypsy soothe her allegedly sore and damaged muscles. That is how Dee Dee preferred it.
The Real Cause of Her Illness
It wasn’t an illusion that Gypsy was ill, but it wasn’t from a genetic defect. The terrifying reality was that the medications Dee Dee insisted her daughter take caused the very problems that made doctors think Gypsy was extremely sick. The strong medications and painful treatments such as chemotherapy kept up the charade, wreaking havoc on Gypsy’s body for no reason at all. They caused her hair to fall out and for her teeth to decay. Behind closed doors, Gypsy knew her mother wasn’t truthful about her situation. She was a prisoner to the lies her mother had woven, and she knew her mother wouldn’t let her to tell anyone what was really going on.
Dee Dee’s Mental Disorder
Under Constant Watch
Even in photos, they always seemed to be happy and share an unbreakable bond. As investigators took a closer look, they started to realize the clutch that Dee Dee had over Gypsy’s life, and something started to seem a bit fishy. In one photo, they embrace lovingly with a small dog nestled between them. In another, Gypsy and Dee smile wistfully, clad in vibrant costumes that became her only outlet for fun. It was all a façade. Gypsy was being forced to play along with this charade and do whatever her mother said, otherwise she would have even the most minimal of her freedoms taken away. Her mother reigned over every aspect of her life and she had nowhere to turn for help.
Dee Dee’s Explanation
Gypsy’s Online Secret
Gypsy was fully capable of thining for herself, but she had nobody that she could confide in, making a lonely struggle that much worse. She was strictly monitored, even when sitting with other people. The constraints weighed heavily on Gypsy as time went on and she was pushed to the edge. In her desperation, she turned to the internet without her mother’s knowledge. There, the world was at her fingertips for the first time. She could learn about anything and explore her interests, which included boys. And that’s when things start taking a turn for the worst.
How Old Was Gypsy?
A Hidden Online Life
Little did Dee Dee know, Gypsy harbored many secrets. Her closest friend was a neighbor’s daughter, Aleah. Of course, Dee Dee monitored their interactions very closely But that did not stop Gypsy from reaching out to Aleah via Facebook through a fake account she created using the alias Emma Rose. Indeed, while her mother slept, she went behind her back, living a secret life online, far away from the world of illness. Online, she was not an extremely ill girl with a child-like mind. On the internet, she explored a dream life where she was a normal young woman with normal desires, who had friends, normal social interactions and several online boyfriends.
The Real Gypsy Rose
Her Only Friend
Gypsy confided in Aleah, telling her all about her special man and the life she longed to live with him. “I’m 18. Nick…is 24,” she wrote to her friend in 2014. As mentioned before, Dee Dee lied to her daughter about her age. Although Gypsy was 23, she still thought she was 18. Both Gypsy and Aleah knew they had to approach this situation with caution. In the past, Dee Dee had discovered chat logs between her daughter and Aleah that greatly concerned her. She blamed Aleah for being a “bad influence” on Gypsy and as a result, tightened the reins on her daughter’s freedom. She took away her daughter’s access to the computer and phone. With everything stacked against her, Gypsy still managed to find away her mother’s attempts to tighten control.
Strange Facebook Post
On June 15, 2015, friends logged on to Facebook to a startling message on their feed from Gypsy and Dee Dee’s joint Facebook account, to which only Dee Dee had access. The post was succinct and vague but chilling: “That b*tch is dead!” Naturally, people were quick to question the strange post. Many suggested that Dee Dee’s account had been hacked. One person even thought that she might have been watching a movie and was responding to that. All of these possibilities seemed completely plausible and many didn’t give it too much thought. However, shortly afterward, another post came and it way more graphic and gruesome than anyone could imagine. This was no hacker.
A Real Cause for Worry
Neighbors Want to Help
It turned out that Kim was not alone in her concern for Dee Dee and her daughter. Many other neighbors had already begun to gather around the small, quaint house. It had already become a habit for the neighbors to look out for the Blanchardes and do everything they could. When they arrived, everything seemed normal. There were no signs of broken windows, smashed locks or really anything out of place. Still, one thing hid the truth inside. Nobody was able to see through the thick black that covered the windows. Aside from that everything was fine. Dee Dee’s car was parked where it usually was, as though nothing was amiss at all.
With Dee Dee Blancharde lay dead at home, her body decaying, Gypsy still was missing and this only served to heighten tensions. People wondered who was behind this heinous act and how Gypsy was coping without her medical devices. Even more, how would Gypsy survive without her mother, who many believed she needed just to survive day to day. Soon, the truth would come out and shock not only the neighbors but people across the country. Gypsy was just fine and that thought was just unthinkable to everyone who knew her, watch her struggle and stood by their side. How was this possible for such a sickly girl?
The Truth Comes Out
A Night Like Any Other
On that fateful June night, Gypsy pretended like it was a regular night with Dee Dee. They spent the night painting each other’s nails before Gypsy put her mother to bed. Apparently, she promised to “be a good girl” as her mother fell asleep. Next, Nicholas made his way into the house and it also marked the first time he met Gypsy face-to-face. While Nicholas stabbed Dee Dee to her bloody death, Gypsy hid in the adjacent bathroom. She listening to all of her mother’s blood-curdling screams. “Help me,” Dee Dee yelled, as Gypsy lay in a fetal position in the other room. The pair quickly left the scene by way of a taxi after the deed was done.
Uncovering What Happened
While looking for Gypsy, her neighborhood friend Aleah felt obligated to show the police the messages that Gypsy had sent her, even though they were at this point several months old. They were one of the key items that lead police to track them down. With this large piece of evidence, they went to Wisconsin where they found Gypsy unharmed and with the man that she was longing to spend her life with. This was all supposed to be her key to freedom but it all went wrong.
A Healthy Girl Found
Rod Left Clueless
Rod Blancharde, Gypsy’s father, was shocked when he learned what had become of his ex-wife and daughter on that fateful day. From the time of her birth, he had noticed Dee Dee overly apprehensive about their daughter’s health but he never expected a lie this big. What shocked him more than anything else was when he saw Gypsy out of a wheelchair and walking like a regular person, advocating for herself before the judge like an adult. He never expected his daughter was living a lie this big.
Rod’s Life After Dee Dee
A Good Father
Even as their marriage fell apart and Gypsy went under the care of Dee Dee most of the time, Rod still tried his best to be a part of his daughter’s life. He had tried his best to be a good father. Along with Gypsy’s step siblings, the family would go on trips as much as the ill girl could and even attended the Special Olympics. Rod took his ex-wife’s word that they had a very sick daughter and trusted she was doing what was best for their daughter.
Lies About Rod
A Desire to Stay In Touch
Although Rod had not been part of Gypsy’s life for so long, he still wanted to stay in touch with her. And that meant wishing her a happy 18th birthday. However, this was when he really realized how strange things were for his daughter far away. Before handing over the phone to Gypsy, Dee Dee warned Rod not to mention her age, as Gypsy’s was living in a world in which she was still a mere child, oblivious to her imminent step into adulthood. As mentioned before, Dee Dee liked to lie about her daughter’s age and capabilities.
Court Recognizes the Abuse
When Gypsy stood before the stunned courtroom audience and brooding jury at the Greene County Courthouse in Missouri for the first time, it was a shock for everyone involved. A case of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy to this severity had hardly ever been witnessed. On one hand, Gypsy did play a major role in a brutal murder, of her own mother no less. But she had also lived as a prisoner not only to her mother but also to herself. All she had ever known was how to smile and how to take the medication given to her, even if it destroyed her body.
The Court’s Ruling
Who Was Gypsy’s Boyfriend?
Gypsy’s relationship with Nicholas was what changed her life forever. By the time Gypsy first revealed to Aleah in 2014 that she had a boyfriend, she and Nicholas had already been dating for two years. He was from Big Bend, Wisconsin and had met on a Christian dating site. He may have suffered from mental illness and was also known to have Multiple Personality Disorder. There have been some claims that Gypsy even created alternate personas to fit his split personalities. His only crime before this was for watching porn on a tablet at McDonald’s in 2013.
Where Were the Doctors?
Dee Dee the Great Liar
It turns out that Dee Dee got away with all the lies for years because she was willing to make her daughter undergo a number of incredibly invasive surgeries. Then, illness would not just be a label but a concrete record. Before long, Gypsy’s small body had become like a science project with imaginary ailments and a constant array of surgical wounds. She endured painful eye surgeries and had tubes placed in her ears. Her salivary glands had even been neatly extracted, simply because her mother convincingly insisted upon it.
Of course, because Dee Dee wasn’t looking for diagnoses so much as she was looking for confirmation in what she believed to be true. She quickly discarded any doctors who attempted to present her with reality. It was the best defense she had. This method worked for years, unfortunately. When a doctor attempted to shatter her illusions, Dee Dee simply took her business elsewhere until she found a doctor who fell for the lies and agreed to perform all manner of medical procedures upon the girl.
Gypsy’s Attempts to Flee
A Healthy Woman Reborn
In most cases, criminals find their lives come to a screeching halt once they are caught and put behind bars. It is a prison, after all, and meant to be a punishment. Such has not been the case for Gypsy. In prison, she is free from the unnecessary medications and surgeries that her mother forced upon her. She has even gained weight. Kim Blanchard has said that now she “looks more like a person.” She has said that she feels much freer living in prison than she ever did at home.
Learning to Heal
Gypsy’s Surprising Opinion of Her Mother
Although once inseparable, Gypsy was quick to catch on her mother’s schemes. As for what she actually thinks of her now that she no longer looms over her, she has gained a greater sense of clarity about what she’d gone through. She knows that what her mother did was wrong, although she admits that when she was caught up in her ruse, the line between right and wrong seemed “blurred.” She also mentions feeling like a pawn who was lied to just as much as Dee Dee lied to the others. “She would have been the perfect mom for someone that actually was sick,” Gypsy said. “But I wasn’t sick.”