The murder of Dee Dee Blanchard

You can’t really put into words how much of a phenomena this case really is, you look at how horrible stories of extreme Munchausen’s by proxy can be and how horrible a case of a young woman killing her mother is and what’s even more shocking to see one lead into the other, here is the case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and how she was driven to kill her mother Dee Dee Blanchard in a plot with her online boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn.

Dee Dee Blanchard was born Caluddine Pitre in 1967 she was from Chackbay, Lousiana and grew up in nearby Golden Meadow with her family. Throughout her childhood it was recalled that she would engage in petty theft as a retaliation to things not going her way, then during her adult life she briefly worked as a nurse’s aide. In 1997 her mother passed away and several of her family members suspect that Dee Dee may have killed her by denying her food. 6 years before her mother’s death, 24-year-old Dee Dee got pregnant by a man named Rod Blanchard, who was 17 at the time. The couple had a daughter in 1991 and named her Gypsy Rose, the name was chosen as Dee Dee liked the name Gyspy and Rod was a Guns N’ Roses fan. Rod left Dee Dee shortly before Gypsy was born and said in 2017 when interviewed that the couple “got married for the wrong reasons”. Dee Dee tried to get Rod to reconcile, but he refused so she took Gypsy and went back to live with her family.

Gypsy’s birth was said to be slightly premature, possibly affecting the development of her skull other than this, no other known health issues were recorded. Ron stayed involved with Gypsy and recalled that when she was 3 months old Dee Dee became convinced that Gypsy was suffering from sleep apnea and started taking her to hospital on several overnight visits, so she could be tested on a sleep monitor, this showed that there was no evidence of the condition. Dee Dee continued to be convinced that Gypsy had a wide range of health issues, she attributed this to an alleged chromosomal disorder.

Things escalated around the time that Gypsy was 7 or 8 years old, Dee Dee’s nephew Bobby Pitre recalled that Gypsy fell off her grandfather’s motorcycle around this time, it was a minor accident that resulted in a slight abrasion to her knee, but Dee Dee saw it as an injury that would require several surgeries to treat fully. Gypsy was confined to a wheelchair from this point on although several family members including Bobby saw that she was healthy enough to walk on her own on several occasions. Despite the family’s questions over the actual severity or existence of illness or disability in Gypsy Dee Dee still did things like taking Gypsy to a Special Olympics events and in 2001 Dee Dee claimed that Gypsy was 8 and she was named honorary queen of the Krewe of Mid-Ciry Parade, this is a child-oriented parade in New Orleans during Madi Gras.

Dee Dee home schooled Gypsy for years, and it’s unclear exactly when she was taken out of school, it is speculated that it was after second grade, but could have been as early as kindergarten. Dee Dee claimed that she was home schooled as her illness was so severe, Gypsy managed to learn to read through reading the Harry Potter books. Rod had remarried at this point, and Dee Dee had moved in with her father and stepmother. Dee Dee’s stepmother claimed years later that while Dee Dee was preparing food for her, she would spike it with Roundup weed killer, leading her to be chronically ill during the period that Dee Dee lived with them. 

Dee Dee was also arrested for several minor offenses at this point too including financial crimes like writing bad checks. Her father began to question her about her treatment of Gypsy and her step mother’s illness, so she left quickly for Slidell, Louisiana. Although not revealed until years later, her step mother’s health did improve after Dee Dee stopped living with them.

In Slidell Dee Dee and Gypsy lived in public housing, they lived and paid their bills with public assistance that Dee Dee had been granted due to Gypsy’s supposed medical conditions, they also had regular child support payments from Rod. Most of their time was spent visiting various specialists at Tulane Medical Centre and the Children’s hospital of New Orleans to seek treatment for the illnesses, which Dee Dee was now claiming included hearing and vision impairments, muscular dystrophy, chromosomal disorders, allergies and intolerances and learning disabilities just to name a few.  Muscle biopsies found no sign of the muscular dystrophy that Dee Dee insisted Gypsy had, but she managed to secure treatments for the other issues she claimed Gypsy had, she also told doctors that Gypsy had started having seizures every few months, so anti-seizure medication was prescribed. Dee Dee started to take Gypsy to the emergency room regularly often for minor ailments, and several surgeries were performed on Gypsy around this time on her mother’s claims of problems.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Slidell hard and the Blanchard’s apartment was destroyed in the devastation, they left for a shelter in Covington set up for individuals with special needs. Dee Dee claimed that all of Gypsy’s medical records and birth certificate had been destroyed by the flooding, so a doctor from the Ozarks suggested that they relocate them to Missouri, they were airlifted there the following month.

After the re-location the Blanchards lived in a rented home and Dee Dee started going by Clauddine Blanchard or Dee Dee, while living there, Gypsy was honoured by the Oley Foundation, they advocate for feeding tube recipients, she was their Child of The Year for 2007.  Over the course of a year the local media became interested in the story of a single mother with a severely disabled daughter, who’s home was destroyed after Katrina and as a result in 2008 Habitat for Humanity built them a small home equipped with a wheelchair ramp and a hot tub and painted a princess pink as it was Gypsy’s favourite colour, this house was located on the North side of Springfield. In a Dr Phil special where Gypsy gave a prison interview, Rod Blanchard appeared on the show and recalled that after this relocation Dee Dee had told him that Gypsy also had leukaemia. When the truth came to light after the murder it was revealed that in total Dee Dee had falsely claimed that Gypsy had asthma, muscular dystrophy, and once told Gypsy that she “had the mental capacity of a 6-7-year-old” due to brain damage caused by other chronic conditions that she claimed Gypsy had.

Blanchard house built by Habitat for Humanity in 2008, in Gypsy’s favourite colour

As well as media support much of the local community offered help where they could and some even made considerable charitable donations to help the Blanchards. While in Louisiana they only really managed to have the occasional free stay at Ronald McDonald Houses during appointments, but now they were receiving free flights to see doctors, free trips to Disney World, and backstage passes to see country artist Miranda Lambert, being photographed with the singer frequently. Rod Blanchard also continued to pay his $1200 a month child support and would send Gypsy gifts, but it seemed his contact after the move was limited to phone calls, he recalls calling Gypsy on her 18th birthday and Dee Dee telling him not to mention his daughter’s real age as “she thinks she’s 14”. Rod and his new wife repeatedly tried to arrange visits to see Gypsy, but Dee Dee would change the plans, it later came to light that Dee Dee had been telling her neighbours and Gypsy herself that Rod was an abusive drug addict that never came to terms with his daughter’s health issues and never sent money as a result.

Gypsy with country singer Miranda Lambert

Dee Dee and Gypsy managed to charm everyone they met through the various charity funded trips, most people taken in by the bond that mother and daughter would present to the media, Gypsy’s childlike high-pitched voice, small 5ft frame, cute gummy smile (as she lost her teeth as a side effect of seizure medication, that she did not need) and her love of fairy tales and princesses. She was made by Dee Dee to look more childlike to reinforce the perception that she did indeed have all these problems and so she could claim legal control over Gypsy when she decided to rebel in adulthood. Gypsy would often wear wigs or hats to cover the baldness as her mother now regularly shaved her head to keep up the appearance that Gypsy was receiving chemotherapy.

Every time they left the house Dee Dee took an oxygen tank and feeding tube with them, feeding Gypsy the children’s nutrition liquid PediaSure well into her 20s. To keep the lies straight with her daughter Dee Dee would use physical abuse, Gypsy mentioned in interviews that Dee Dee was always holding her hand in the presence of others, and if she said something that could cause the lies to slip or if she showed more mental capabilities than Dee Dee claimed she would squeeze her hand very tight and when the two were alone she would strike her with an open hand or use a coat hanger, as well as the physical abuse Dee Dee would also mentally abuse Gypsy by telling her how she wished she had gotten an abortion when she could or that Gypsy ruined her life by being born.

Dee Dee had some of Gypsy’s saliva glands treated with Botox and then extracted in order to control her drooling, Gypsy later claimed that her mother would induce the drooling before doctor’s appointments by using topical anaesthetic to numb her gums and make the lie about her mental disabilities seem more realistic, Gypsy recalled when she was taken to appointments her mother would demand that she not speak at all in front of the doctors.

A paediatric neurologist name Bernardo Flasterstein grew suspicious of Dee Dee when he saw Gypsy in Springfield, he questioned the muscular dystrophy diagnosis and ordered MRIs and blood tests which found no abnormalities he told Dee Dee “I don’t see any reason why she doesn’t walk”, in a follow-up appointment he also saw Gypsy stand and support her own weight. Flasterstein contacted Gypsy’s doctors in New Orleans and learned that Gypsy’s original muscle biopsy had come back negative disputing Dee Dee’s persistent claims of muscular dystrophy, as well as her claims that all Gypsy’s records had been destroyed by flooding. He said later that he felt his claims would not be believed and that he was told to treat the Blanchards with “golden gloves” as they now had the media attention and public image, although Flasterstein’s notes revealed that he had noted Gypsy’s ability to walk on her own and that he suspected Munchausen by proxy and said it was the second case he had ever come across, as Dee Dee stopped taking Gypsy to appointments with Flasterstein he did not hear anymore from the Blanchrds until a former nurse from sent him the article reporting Dee Dee’s murder via email in 2015, he said in relation to the murder “poor Gypsy, she suffered all those years, and for no reason” he also added that he wishes he could have done more. Flasterstein has been criticised for his decisions involving this case as people argue he didn’t honour his obligations as a medical professional as well as ignoring the legal requirement to report suspected abuse or neglect to child protective services, a documentary on the case accepted and showed Flaterstein’s claim that he was only required to make a report to child protective services in the instance of abuse or neglect, but supposedly after the noting of the Munchausen by proxy diagnosis he had to make a report first, it was speculated this was a case of a doctor trying to “ditch” an awkward case because he did not want to raise and fight the Munchausen by proxy discovery.

An anonymous caller told the police about Dee Dee using different names and dates of birth for herself and her daughter, and suggested that Gypsy’s medical condition was better than Dee Dee claimed, in 2009 after this call a child protective services officer performed a wellness check and accepted Dee Dee’s explanation that she was using misinformation to make it harder for her abusive ex to find her and Gypsy, and did not check the authenticity of the story with Rod, they closed the file saying that Gypsy did seem to be genuinely ill.

By the 2010s Gypsy was an adult despite those close to her believing that she was a teenager, she had started to test the limitations of her mother’s lies, a neighbour recalled one incident one night around 2009 or 2010 where Gypsy showed up at her door without her wheelchair requesting a ride to the local hospital to meet a man whom she shared a romantic interest. The man turned out to be a patient who had been assaulted by a group because of his involvement with Gypsy, the group, familiar with the Blanchard’s situation felt the man was taking advantage of a mentally-challenged, unwell, underage girl, but when she got to the hospital she presented staff with her birth certificate that gave her correct date of birth and age, proving that she was of legal age. Dee Dee showed up at the hospital and told that Gypsy had an incorrect version of her birth certificate that had been issued after Katrina and gave showed one with a more recent date of birth showing Gypsy as underage. Gypsy was reportedly made to apologise to everyone involved in the incident.

Gypsy made another attempt to rebel in 2011 at a sci-fi and fantasy convention, she had reportedly been attending these events since 2001, sometimes in costume so she could blend in, even with her wheelchair. In 2011 at one convention Dee Dee found her in a hotel room with a man she had met online, Dee Dee again produced the fake birth certificate that showed Gypsy to be younger than what she actually was and threatened the man with the police. Gypsy said that in later interviews when she recalled this incident that Dee Dee smashed her computer with a hammer and threatened to do the same to her fingers if she ever tried to escape again, she added that Dee Dee also kept her leashed and handcuffed to her bed for two weeks after this.

Dee Dee told Gypsy that she had filed paperwork with the police claiming that Gypsy was mentally incompetent, this led Gypsy to believe that if she attempted to escape again or get help from the police, they would not believe her.

With Dee Dee now keeping a closer eye on Gypsy she started to use the internet while her mother was in bed, in 2012 her late night time online got her in contact with Nicholas Godejohn, a young man around the same age as Gypsy, she claimed to have come into contact with Godejohn on a Christian singles group, a Facebook page was found from 2012 that shows their names combined and the status as “in a relationship”.

The couple’s combined Facebook page announcing their relationship status.

Godejohn also had issues, a criminal record was found with charges for indecent exposure and a history of mental illness, it stated that he either suffered with dissociative identity disorder or that he showed signs of being on the autism spectrum, Gypsy said in court that Godejohn told her that he had Asperger’s syndrome. The relationship between the two seemed to blossom, and by 2014 Gypsy confided in her neighbour, 23-year-old Aleah Woodmansee that they had discussed eloping and chosen names for their potential children. Woodmansee was unaware at the time that Gypsy was close to the same age as her and saw herself as a “big sister” figure to Gypsy.

Gypsy had five separate Facebook accounts to flirt with Godejohn online and the accounts included sexually explicit messages including BDSM elements, and the use of “alter egos”, both had names for their alter egos Gypsy’s went by “Ruby” her evil side, “Candy” a more sexual character and “Demona” a half wearwolf half human, childlike character and Godejohn’s was simply “evil side”. Gypsy has since claimed that the BDSM and role play were elements that Godejohn was interested in, and that she created the characters to fit his. In relation to her alter egos while she testified in court, she was asked about her use of wigs also and said that she used them as a way to change for the characters and because her head was shaved.

Woodmansee tried to talk Gypsy out of the relationship as she believed Gypsy was too young and being taken advantage of by an online sexual predator. She claimed that she considered Gypsy’s plans to be just “fantasies and dreams, and nothing like this would ever really take place”.

Despite Dee Dee’s efforts to cut Gypsy’s contacts online, which included again smashing her computer and her phone, Gypsy remained in contact with Godejohn and her friend Woodmansee saved printouts of Gypsy’s posts on Facebook until 2014.

In March 2015 Gypsy arranged and paid for Godejohn to meet her and her mother in Springfield, she made a plan where Godejohn would “bump into them” while at a movie theatre and strike up a relationship so she could introduce him to Dee Dee. They met at the movie theatre, both in sci-fi costumes and Godejohn says that as soon as they met in person Gypsy led him to the bathroom and the pair had sex, Gypsy apparently did not find Godejohn as desirable in person and Dee Dee claimed that he was “creepy” after they met. The relationship online continued between Gypsy and Godejohn and in these interactions the plan to kill Dee Dee was developing.

Godejohn returned to Springfield while Gypsy and Dee Dee were away at a doctor’s appointment in June 2015, when they returned home Gyspy let him know when Dee Dee had fallen asleep and he went to the Blanchard house. Gypsy let him into the house and reportedly gave him gloves, duct tape and a knife with the understanding that he intended to use it to kill Dee Dee, Gypsy later claimed that at the time she did not expect him to able to go through with it. 

 

He ordered Gypsy to stay in the bathroom and cover her ears so that she wouldn’t have to see or hear her mother’s murder, she claimed that while she was  kneeling on her bathroom floor with her ears covered she still heard her mother she said initially she sounded startled at the sight of Godejohn in her bedroom but then started screaming and calling to Gypsy for help, when talking about this in interviews she said “I wanted to help her, but I was scared, I didn’t move even though I wanted to”. Godejohn stabbed Dee Dee several times as she slept then he and Gypsy went to her room and had sex, before leaving the house they took $4,000 in cash that Dee Dee had been saving, mostly from the child support cheques and fled to a motel outside Springfield to “plan their next move”. They stayed in the motel for several days and during that time they were seen on the CCTV of several local stores, when recalling these few days Gypsy said she believed at that point that they had managed to get away with the murder.

Knife used by Godejohn to stab Dee Dee

In an effort to cover their tracks they mailed the murder weapon to Godejohn’s home in Wisconsin so they wouldn’t be caught with it and then took a bus there. Witnesses saw the pair on their way to the Greyhound station and said that Gypsy was wearing a blonde wig and walking unassisted.

On 14th June 2015 Godejohn posted an update on Facebook using Dee Dee’s profile, Gypsy urged him to do it so that her mother’s body would be discovered, the first update read “That Bitch is dead!” then 17 minutes later another update followed, a much more violent message reading “I fucking slashed that fat pig and raped her innocent daughter…her screams were so fucking loud.. LOL”. Gypsy stated that she had grown concerned when that no one had discovered the body after several days, so she hoped the message would be reported to the police.

The status updates got the desired reaction as friends of the Blanchards reacted to the explicit language that was uncharacteristic for Dee Dee, they asked initially if she was reacting to a movie that she was watching or if her account had been hacked, alarms bells really rang after the second post, phonecalls were made to Dee Dee that went unanswered so several neighbours went over to the property. They were aware that Dee Dee and Gypsy took unannounced medical trips, but noted that Dee Dee’s Nissan Cube that had been modified for Gypsy’s disabilities was still parked in the driveway, they tried to look through the windows for signs of anything suspicious, but a protective film on the window made it hard to see in low light so the police were called.

The police arrived but had to wait for a search warrant to be issued before they could enter the property, they gave one neighbour permission to climb through a window, he saw that the inside of the house was undisturbed, and that Gypsy’s wheelchairs were still at the house. The warrant was finally issued, and the police entered the house to find Dee Dee’s body.

The community was shocked by the murder and rallied around the family, a GoFundMe account was set up to cover Dee Dee’s funeral costs and possibly Gypsy’s. Everyone who knew the Blanchards feared the worst for Gypsy, not only did they believe that she was in physical harm at the hands of a dangerous offender, but they also believed that she was helpless without her medical equipment, medications, oxygen, feeding tube and wheelchair.

Neighbours gathered on the Blanchards lawn and among them was Woodmansee, she informed the police of Gypsy’s secret boyfriend that she met online and showed the printouts she had saved, these printouts included Nicholas Godejohn’s name, through that the police requested that Facebook trace the IP address that the disturbing posts came from, they were traced to Wisconsin.

Mugshots of the couple taken after arrest

Police in Waukesha County raided the Godejohns’ home in Big Bend the following day, they found him and Gypsy there, they surrendered and were taken into custody on charges of murder and felony armed criminal action.

Initially the news of Gypsy’s safety relieved the community in Springfield, but the Greene County warned that “things are not always what they appear” as both Gypsy and Godejohn were extradited and held on a $1,000,000 bond. The media soon learned and reported the truth about the lives of the Blanchards, people were warned not to donate any money to fundraisers set up for the Blanchards until the investigation revealed the real extent of the fraud.

The charges of first-degree murder that Gypsy and Godejohn were facing can carry the death penalty or life without parole in Missouri, but after the truth of how Dee Dee had lied and abused Gypsy for all those years came to light people’s opinions of Gypsy shifted to sympathy as she was now seen as a victim herself. The county prosecutor Dan Patterson took this in to account calling the case “extraordinary and unusual” when he announced that he would not seek the death penalty for Gypsy or Godejohn.

Gypsy’s attorney obtained medical records from Louisiana as evidence of Dee Dee’s lies about Gypsy’s health in order to secure a plea bargain, which would see Gypsy plead guilty to second-degree murder, he noted that Gypsy was so undernourished that her time on remand in county jail caused her to gain 14lbs as oppose to losing weight which most people in that situation do through the stress of upcoming court proceedings. In July 2015 Gypsy Blanchard pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Despite Gypsy being given some leniency for her part in the murder, Godejohn still faced the very severe charge of first-degree murder. Prosecutors argued that he initiated the murder plot and that both he and Gypsy agreed that he would be the one to actually carry out the killing. Godejohn’s trial was postponed in January 2017 when prosecutors requested a second psychiatric exam, his lawyers contended that he had an intelligence quotient of 82 and was on the autism spectrum, with this they suggested diminished capacity. He initially waived his right to a trial by jury, but changed his mind in June 2017 after the postponement, part of Gypsy’s plea bargain stated that she was not required to testify against him.

The judge set the trial in December 2017 for November 2018, the trial began on 12th November 2018, the opening arguments alleged that Godejohn had deliberated over the decision to commit the crime for over a year prior, his defence argued that Godejohn was “lovestruck” and had just done what Gypsy had asked, calling to his suspected autism. Text messagess between the two were showed to jurors, some of the messages were from a week before the murder and showed sexually explicit messages including the use of  the various personas in the conversation, he asked for details of Dee Dee’s sleeping habits and the layout of her room in others, as well as the texts the murder weapon was shown in court followed by the interview he gave police after arrest where he admitted to killing Dee Dee. In the argument of diminished capacity and whether he was able to comprehend the crime Godejohn tripped himself up slightly as he gave an interview while on remand where he said “For a minute I stopped and thought about whether I should do this” this shows that he had the mental ability to stop and think about whether what he was doing was wrong, the very thing that determines whether someone is fit to be held fully responsible for their crime.

Despite the fact she did not need to, Gypsy testified on the third day, she was asked about the nature of their relationship, how many times they met in person prior to the murder, whether Godejohn knew about the illnesses and disabilities and whether he knew that they were fake, she testified that her and Godejohn had talked about her condition and she said that a month into the online relationship she told him she was in a wheelchair, then a year into the relationship she told him the truth about the fact she did not need the wheelchair and that she was not as ill as everyone thought. When asked about the seriousness of their relationship Gypsy once again talked about their plans to marry and have children, admitting to stealing baby clothes from Walmart to execute a “pregnancy plan” where she would get pregnant by Godejohn so Dee Dee would have to accept him and their relationship, she said that the idea to murder Dee Dee had been her own, and that she had talked Godejohn into it, it had been in her head for around a year before the murder, adding that she had second thoughts around two weeks before. She said she changed her mind after another argument with Dee Dee, the night of the argument Godejohn text her and asked, “am I still coming there to do this?” to which she said yes.

Gypsy testifying in Godejohn’s trial

The jury retired to consider the case after the four-day trial, the jurors had three options they could find Godejohn guilty of first-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter or second-degree murder, it took them just two hours to find Nicholas Godejohn guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. In February 2019 he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder conviction, this was the only option as they had decided early on in the case that they would not seek the death penalty, Godejohn asked Judge David Jones for leniency on the armed criminal action charge, this charge carries a minimum of three years, so he was appealing to be given the bare minimum sentence on that charge, he argued that he had “fallen blindly in love” with Gypsy, he received a 25 year sentence on the armed criminal action charge to run concurrently with his life sentence.

Godejohn’s lawyer set a motion that was later denied for a new trial, his lawyer argues that the jury should not have been allowed to hear the detail that Godejohn had considered raping Dee Dee on the night of the murder, that Godejohn’s psychologist should have been allowed to testify instead of the state psychologist in establishing diminished capacity, he conceded that the point with the psychologists should be considered a reversible error.

Dee Dee’s family from her native Louisiana, who had questioned her about Gypsy’s condition and her treatment of her said that they did not regret her death, her father, her stepmother (who she may or may not have poisoned before) and her nephew were the first to share details of Gypsy’s actual health, recalling when she was first confined to a wheelchair, when discussing her death all said that they felt Dee Dee deserved her fate and that Gypsy has been punished enough from the life she had to endure with Dee Dee. None of Dee Dee’s relatives would pay for her funeral or collect her ashes, once they were given to the family her father and stepmother reportedly flushed the ashes down the toilet.

Dee Dee’s ex and Gypsy’s biological father was more forgiving toward Dee Dee saying to Buzzfeed “I think Dee Dee’s problem was she started a web of lies, and there was no escaping after, it was like a tornado got started”.

Gypsy is currently serving her sentence in Chillicothe Correctional Centre in Missouri, she did not talk to the media until after she made her plea, since she has spoken to a number of different media outlets about her crime including a special episode of Dr Phil where he visited and interviewed her along with relatives, friends and neighbours of the Blanchards and she spoke to Buzzfeed reporter Michelle Dean. Gypsy told Buzzfeed that since being in prison she has been able to use the prison computer facilities to research Munchausen syndrome by proxy and said to her, her mother had every symptom and exhibited every behaviour of someone who suffered with it, she went on to say “I think she would have been the perfect mom for someone that was actually sick”.

In relation to her part in the lies Dee Dee told about her health she said she believed Dee Dee’s claims despite being able to walk, eat solid foods, being more mentally capable than Dee Dee told her she was, and not “feeling any different” physically despite her diagnoses, she said she always hoped that doctors would see through the lies and recalled her frustration every time a doctor just let Dee Dee carry on without raising any flags like Flasterstein did.

She was asked in interviews what finally made her question her mother’s behaviour and want to escape and she said it was the incident in the 2011 convention that made her wonder why she was not allowed to have friends like other girls her age. She still maintains that Godejohn took the discussion they had about murdering her mother and made it a reality while she thought he wouldn’t actually go through with it, but she does admit that she committed a crime and has to live with consequences, she said “I never wanted her dead, I just wanted the situation I was in to stop, I wanted that to be dead” she talks about her life in prison and said “I feel like I’m freer in prison, that  living with my mom. Because now, I’m allowed to just live life like a normal woman”.

Given the explosive conclusion that led to the reveal of Dee Dee’s lies it is now technically impossible to give a formal diagnosis of Munchausen’s by proxy, but from the numerous accounts given by relatives, friends, neighbours and Gypsy she definitely had Munchausen’s syndrome, but over the years as more and more cases have been observed more links have been made to personality disorders. In Dee Dee’s case her behaviour displays as narcissistic personality disorder that grew into extreme Munchausen’s by proxy, much of what her family said she was like in childhood with incidents of petty theft is arguably the early signs of a narcissistic personality as this a form of acting out to get attention or as a way to gain power over the person who wouldn’t give in to her in first place, as she worked in a medical background as a nurse’s aide the exposure to the adoration that comes from caring for someone or saving someone’s life showed her a new way to get attention and feed her narcissism, after her time working here she escalated to possibly poisoning her stepmother and killing her own mother, she probably thrived in the attention she received when her mother died and enjoyed the feeling of control she had from the act. The fact that around this time she was also engaging in financial crimes also shows her narcissistic side because crimes like this are common with narcissists as they view money as another tool to gain power and adoration from people, so when she was committing her financial crimes and making money for nothing she would have again felt a sense of power and control that fed her narcissism.

The narcissism presented in the biggest way when it came to her relationship Gypsy in a couple of different ways, as well as the need for adoration and power that came with her narcissism that led her to use Gypsy for media attention, financial contributions, and the adoration that came from their situation, she did seem to love Gypsy in an intense, unhealthy way that was all about her and how she felt, this is why Gypsy was so infantilised, why her date of birth was falsified, why she was told she was mentally impaired, why Gypsy was isolated and not allowed to have anyone else in her life and why the Munchausen’s by proxy got more prolonged and intense with Gypsy, all of this was a way for Dee Dee to keep control of Gypsy and keep her as someone in her life that relied on her and adored her in a way that a small child will idolise their mother, obviously as she grew up and wanted to be more independent Dee Dee couldn’t handle the idea of her pulling away from her in any form because she loved Gypsy in a way where she wanted all of her attention and admiration to be for her with no room for anyone else in Gypsy’s life.

What makes this case such a strange one is the fact that one of the killers is a victim herself, and it is understandable that she was driven to snap and want to kill her abuser, but what’s interesting is the fact that she seemed to adopt some of the same manipulative behaviours that her mother displayed in the way she treated Godejohn while she planned and committed this crime, she claimed that the idea to murder her mother had been in her head for about a year before the murder, but her plan could have been in motion for much longer, she has said that she feared her mother because of the abuse, so she wouldn’t have been able to do it herself and knew that she needed to find someone to help her out of the situation. It’s like she took on the fantasy of the princess in the tower and “prince charming” coming to save her like the fairy tales she loved so much, leading her to the idea of using a man in some capacity to get out of her mother’s care. The incidents in 2011 where she started to rebel by striking up a relationship with the man at the convention were the start of her planning her escape, I believe that she had plans for their relationship that involved him saving her from the situation, whether it was the “pregnancy plan” she had in place for Godejohn or the idea to kill , but had her plans foiled before any real relationship could develop, this is also why I think her search for a man turned online, because it would have been easier for her to build a relationship without Dee Dee finding out. When she met Godejohn and learned of his criminal past and his Asperger’s syndrome she started to see him as a tool to help her in her plan, just like her mother saw her, this is when she started to manipulate him by trying to please him by fulfilling his BDSM and role play fantasies, so that he would be interested in her enough to meet face to face. After meeting for the first time she admitted that she didn’t find him as attractive in person, but still initiated sex with him in the movie theatre where they met, the fact she felt that way, but still had sex with him shows that to keep control of him she rewarded him with sex because he had done as she said, this is further shown after the murder when she had sex with him again despite saying she felt scared hearing her mother’s screams.

Godejohn was her first relationship outside of Dee Dee and the sorts of behaviours she displayed in her relationship with him show how much of an affect Dee Dee had on her because as well as manipulating and controlling him with sex, she showed her need for control in other ways such as through their first meeting by financing the trip and orchestrating his meeting with Dee Dee, this was in order to solidify her escape plan, whatever one she chose. She did take a more submissive role during the actual murder but planned and controlled everything up until the physical act and after as she was the one financing their time on the run. All of this shows how much of an affect Dee Dee’s influence had on her as her behaviour with Godejohn shows she could only be trying to control a relationship or gain something from a relationship, like Dee Dee. Gypsy’s family members have spoken about her mental state and said “She is already really psychologically really compromised, and she’s going to need as much family underpinning and support as she can get” as well as mentioning the possibility of PTSD and the fact that she could end up refusing any future medical treatments like most victims of Munchausen’s by proxy tend to do when they survive the abuse they’ve endured.

Godejohn seemed to just play a physical part in the crime, although as I mentioned he was manipulated by Gypsy to commit the murder somewhat, but if he hadn’t had committed this murder, he would have hurt someone eventually, she manipulated a part of him that wanted to kill. The thing that they both seemed to find in each other was an escape, a fantasy that let them escape what was going on in their lives outside of their online relationship, for Godejohn he got his escape by being able to be himself, he was able to let his violent or “evil side” as he called it express while he was talking to Gypsy in a role play fantasy and the more she embraced and accepted that side the more he became comfortable to bring it into reality.

Godejohn already displayed some inappropriate behaviours in his indecent exposure arrest, so with sexually inappropriate behaviours like that already presenting themselves Godejohn may have initially seen Gypsy as a victim for himself, seen her as someone to completely dominate sexually, whether she wanted it or not, when she played into his fantasies he got seduced and he was “lovestruck” as he said in court, but not with Gypsy, as he learned more of her situation and the lies he was taken in and seduced by the idea she had for him to kill her mother. The murder would have fulfilled his fantasies about violent sexual domination and the more they talked about it the more he grew obsessed with the fantasy of him and Gypsy committing the perfect murder and getting away with it together, this is seen in the texts shown in court where he reacts to her second thoughts by simply replying “am I still coming down there to do this?” this shows how normalised the idea of the murder had become to them and how he was completely ready to do it.

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