Home Admissions Admissions. Transfer Education. Student Life. Softball Advantages Coaches Roster Schedule. Volleyball Advantages Coaches Roster Schedule. One lie had to cover another lie, had to cover another lie, and that was her way of life. They knew nothing of any charity drives and trips except what Dee Dee told them, which was very little.
The Story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Her Mother - Biography
That all changed last June when Rod called Kristy, sobbing in the middle of a workday. No one had prepared them; Kristy had spotted the video on Facebook. The lawyer asked her why. From the time she was arrested to my more recent talks with her in prison in Missouri, she is confused about details large and small. For example: When she was arrested, Gypsy told the police that she was She was actually Gypsy told me her mother said some of the medications were related to it.
There are lingering questions, in fact, about exactly what medications Gypsy was given over the years. Some of them may never have been prescribed to Gypsy at all; her attorney, for example, suspects Dee Dee gave Gypsy some kind of tranquilizer. The pile of bogus diagnoses, the confusing lists of drugs: It all points to a syndrome called Munchausen by proxy.
Munchausen syndrome was first identified by a British psychiatrist named Richard Asher in A successor, Roy Meadow, identified Munchausen by proxy in It has been in the DSM , the diagnostic manual used by psychiatrists, since In short, a person with the syndrome either feigns or induces physical and psychological symptoms for no obvious benefit other than attention and sympathy. While most with the syndrome are mothers, there are also documented cases of fathers doing this to their children, husbands doing this to their wives, nieces doing this to their aunts.
By its very nature, it hides in plain sight. That doctors often miss Munchausen seems counterintuitive, but the doctor-patient relationship is a bond of trust that goes both ways. What if the doctor is wrong and the patient suffers for it? A diagnosis of Munchausen syndrome by proxy is attached to the perpetrator, not to the victim.
She did keep a binder of medical information in which she seemed to be sorting through the different information she'd given to various doctors. And she did fit certain parameters that doctors often cite as red flags for Munchausen syndrome: For example, she had some medical training.
The number of doctors she took Gypsy to see over the years, and her propensity for changing locations so there was no clear medical trail, is also common. So are the concerns over sleep apnea, which is one way Munchausen often seems to begin in the various documented cases. It is also not unusual, as Burton told me, for extended family members — and even sometimes immediate ones — to be totally unaware of the feigning of illness.
They manipulate their victims, too, and the longer it goes on, the higher the chances are that the actual patient might collude with the perpetrator. The desire to please a parent can be enough to enlist a child in the deception. But even in adult cases, there can be some kind of emotional attachment keeping the patient in on the lie.
And no source I consulted had ever heard of a case where the abuse went on for this long, into their adulthood.
A Complete Timeline of Dee Dee Blanchard's Murder and Gypsy Blanchard's Trial
One thing seems certain: For the patient in a Munchausen by proxy case, the truth becomes corroded. Gypsy and Dee Dee being interviewed for a news story about their Habitat for Humanity house. All the way back in , doctors at Tulane University Hospital tested Gypsy for muscular dystrophy. Her tests came back negative. In fact, all scans of her brain and spine were relatively clear. The records of all those tests survived Katrina. Nonetheless, Dee Dee continued to insist to doctor after doctor in Louisiana and Missouri that Gypsy had muscular dystrophy.
Instead they proceeded to treat Gypsy for various vision, hearing, sleep, and salivation problems that were presumed to flow from the muscular dystrophy. Some interventions were surgical. Tubes were put in her ears for alleged ear infections. She was given a feeding tube and ate very little by mouth, surviving on cans of the meal replacement PediaSure well into her twenties. Her salivary glands were first injected with Botox, then removed because her mother complained that she drooled too much. It is difficult to say now whether any of it was medically needed at all.
What is not difficult to say is that all of it began when Gypsy was impossibly young and could hardly have been expected to challenge authority figures — her mother or her doctors — about how she was feeling. There was one exception. In , a pediatric neurologist named Bernardo Flasterstein, consulting on the case in Springfield, became suspicious. In a recent phone conversation, Flasterstein told me he had his doubts from the first time he saw Dee Dee and Gypsy. It all came back normal.
Dee Dee began pretending that Gypsy had different illnesses when Gypsy was a baby
In between his visits with Gypsy, Flasterstein tracked down a doctor who had seen Gypsy in New Orleans. When confronted with the problem, Dee Dee simply stopped seeing those New Orleans doctors. Flasterstein never followed up. Thinking about it now, Flasterstein regrets not doing more.
He heard about the murder when a former nurse in his office wrote him about it last year. It was not the only missed opportunity for authorities to intervene. In the fall of , someone made an anonymous call to the Springfield Police Department, asking for a wellness check.
The person said that they had doubts that Gypsy was suffering from all the ailments her mother described. Flasterstein says it was not he who made that call. The police drove over to the house, but Dee Dee put their fears to rest. She told them that the reason she sometimes used inconsistent birth dates and spellings of her name was to hide from an abusive husband. No one called Rod Blanchard, or checked on these claims. The police accepted the explanation. The file was closed. Gypsy also tried, once, to escape her mother. She met a man at the science fiction convention that Kim Blanchard and her husband also attended.
Gypsy and this man began communicating online. At the time, in February , Gypsy and Dee Dee were leaving everyone with the impression that she was According to Kim, the man in question was He took Gypsy back to his hotel room. She apparently knocked on the hotel room door with papers that showed Gypsy was a minor, and the man let Gypsy leave. He could not be reached for comment. After that incident, Dee Dee was furious to the point of public spectacle. She smashed the family computer with a hammer, cursed the internet to her friends. The whole situation has left bystanders in Springfield with feelings of guilt.
A lot of people feel that way. If Gypsy had, just once, stood up and walked across the room, the spell would have been broken. In a way, that makes sense. She had no reason to believe that her life would change. Until, apparently, she met Nick Godejohn. Under other circumstances, a tale of child abuse as long and as involved as what Gypsy experienced might have inspired public sympathy. So Facebook groups began to spring up.
They splintered on whether Gypsy could be said to be blamed, whether Rod and Kristy were in some way in on the fraud.
- Dateline NBC To Run Episode On Murder Of UK Football Player | LEXcom;
- The Story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Her Mother.
- Dee Dee appeared to be a charming, devoted mother, so people believed her.
Some groups ballooned to over 10, members, some of them posting every day about the crime, voicing unfounded theories about what had happened. If their speculation had been confined to private forums, it might have been one thing. But more than a few of these amateur detectives were not satisfied with online discussion. They wanted to affect the case in real time. Random observers on Facebook also called the police with their various speculations. Then, when the court hearings began, they came to those, too. She was shooed away from the crime scene by the neighbors and the police. The result was informational chaos.
When Dee Dee's financial fraud was revealed by the sheriff, Kim shut it down, but not before the groups had taken it upon themselves to investigate Kim herself. Several thought Kim and David Blanchard were lying about their involvement with Gypsy and Dee Dee, and assumed they were relatives because of their last name.
Kristy Blanchard, meanwhile, was still gathering a lot of the news about her stepdaughter from Facebook. Dee Dee died intestate, without a will, and apparently without meaningful assets other than that cash. Kristy tried, at first, to defend herself and Rod to these groups, but it turned out they were hard to convince. She withdrew from all the groups and asked friends and family to stop accepting new friend requests, which were pouring in.
The neighbors in Springfield also had this problem. The obsessives ended up piling confusion onto the already confusing situation Dee Dee had created. And they proved quite resilient. At the hearing I attended in September , two people from the largest Facebook group were there. After the hearing, they made a beeline for the local television crew and started talking to them. The prosecutor declined to go for the death penalty, but both Gypsy and Nick were charged with first-degree murder. They were into BDSM imagery. They had specific names and roles for each other.
They took pictures of themselves in costumes, Gypsy dressing up at one point as the comic book character Harley Quinn, posing with a knife. Reality and fantasy blended quite a lot, for both of them. He had no history of violence. His only prior arrest was for lewd conduct in at a McDonald's, where he had been watching pornography on a tablet. But both he and Gypsy told police he was the one to wield the knife.
She said that while her mother was being stabbed, she was in the other room, listening. In an average year, he told me, he handles over individual cases. Stanfield also had an investigator and a paralegal working on it. Kristy and Rod had no money to hire a private attorney, though they told me repeatedly as I reported this story that they would never have told Gypsy to switch attorneys because they found Stanfield so capable and reassuring.
The process of figuring out what had happened was, in a word, complex. When the records finally arrived, though, they were so damning, Stanfield called the prosecutor without needing to investigate further. A plea deal was worked out. On July 5, Gypsy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The judge gave her the minimum sentence: 10 years. By then she will be 32 years old. For his part, Godejohn is still scheduled for trial in November. At a recent hearing in mid-July, he looked bewildered and lost, a beard concealing most of his face.
His family never seems to come to hearings. Her hair is long, her skin clear and healthy, and she wears proper adult glasses. Gypsy gained 14 pounds in the 12 months she spent in Greene County Jail before her plea. But obviously, there are lingering effects. In the Greene County Jail, Gypsy had a therapist she saw once a week.
Rod and Kristy saw Gypsy not too long after the plea bargain. While the case was pending, they never discussed the crime with her; the prosecutor forbade it. Now there will be more to talk about. It worries them. He sounded older. He had only begun to pose those questions. He was wondering lately, he said, how Dee Dee had managed to be so friendly on the phone all those years if she hated him so much. He asked Gypsy about it. After the plea deal, that changed. I sent her a note. She called me from prison in Missouri to talk in short conversations broken up over a few days.
Her voice is still high-pitched, though now that we know what we know, it no longer seems unusually high at all. People heard what they wanted to. Gypsy speaks in long, beautiful sentences. She was eager to talk, barely able to contain herself once she started. This was a situation, she said, of a girl trying to escape abuse.
She wants to write a book to help others in her situation. She meant the time when she ran away with the man at the convention in About her mother, her opinion seems to waver. I was in the dark about it. The only thing I knew was that I could walk, and that I could eat. She just accepted it. As for a childlike demeanor, Gypsy grew defensive when I asked her about it. This is my voice. It often seems to Gypsy, even now, that Dee Dee really thought she was sick.
I just grew up that way. She mostly used the internet late at night, when her mother was asleep. Nick, she said, was the first person who had offered her real protection. She believed him. I asked, repeatedly: Are you angry? With your mom? With the doctors? She will admit only to frustration.
Related Habitat For Murder
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved