In 2016, Gypsy Rose Blanchard was sentenced to 10 years for her role in her mother’s gruesome murder. The case had made headlines a year earlier when a stunning Facebook post led police to find the body inside their Missouri home.
The then-23-year-old was found nearly 600 miles away from the crime scene with her boyfriend, Nick Godejohn. They were both arrested and charged with murder. Blanchard later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
What initially appeared to be a fraud scheme gone wrong devolved into a story of abuse. The story later inspired the 2019 Hulu miniseries, “The Act,” starring Joey King as Blanchard and Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee, which would go on to win an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
After serving seven years, Gypsy Rose Blanchard was scheduled for parole. She was released from the Chillicothe Correctional Center at 3:30 a.m. Thursday, a Missouri Department of Corrections spokesperson confirmed to CBS News.
The department previously said no in-person coverage of her release would be allowed, “in the interest of protecting safety, security and privacy.”
“I’m ready for freedom,” Blanchard said in an exclusive interview with People prior to her release. “… No one will ever hear me say I’m proud of what I did or I’m glad that she’s dead. I’m not proud of what I did. I regret it every single day.”
Who is Gypsy Rose Blanchard and what did she do?
Gypsy Rose Blanchard pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for her role in Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard’s murder.
Dee Dee said that her daughter suffered from multiple medical issues, including leukemia and muscular dystrophy and chronicled on social media. Posts ontheir shared Facebook pagecreated the perception of a doting mom and her sickly daughter. Kind messages from supporters were left on profile picture changes.
“She always has A big pretty smile!! Pretty,” wrote one woman. “Love button!” gushedanother.
The“Dee Gyp Blancharde”page, now a memorialized account, still has that now-infamous post from June 14, 2015: “That [expletive] is dead!”
That final update has been shared more than 109,000 times, and supporters’ panic-stricken comments can still be seen.
“WHAT?!!! Did your FB get hacked? I have never heard you talk like that,” writes one person. Another woman wrote, “Should someone notify the local police??? This sounds scary.”
After worried friends called police, Dee Dee was found dead in her bed and Blanchard was reported missing.
Police told reporters at the time Blanchard posted those messages from her then-boyfriend’s home in Wisconsin — less than 600 miles away from the crime scene. She and Nick Godejohn were arrested.
Initially believed to be confined to a wheelchair, Gypsy was able to “walk without assistance” and she could do that “very well,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott said at a news conference in June 2015.
“Things are not always as they appear,” Arnott said, ashe detailed the alleged fraudthat her mother had been perpetrating for years. “This is a tragic event surrounded by mystery and public deception.”
Gypsy’s defense attorney argued she was the victim of abuse, and that her mother had a psychological condition called Munchausen syndrome by proxy that drove her to make up medical crises and subject her daughter to unneeded medical treatments.
Investigators believed Dee Dee may have been partially motivated by financial gain. According toThe Associated Press, she received donations from various sources over the years and even received a free house from Habitat for Humanity.
Godejohntold policehe stabbed Dee Dee Blanchard to death at Gypsy’s request, using a knife she gave him. He said he stole cash and mailed the knife to his Wisconsin home before the two fled there, according to court documents.
Godejohn was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, plus 25 years for armed criminal action,reported CBS affiliate KOLR. He later sought a new trial, but was denied.
In her exclusive interview with People, Blanchard said her mother “didn’t deserve” what happened.
“She was a sick woman and unfortunately I wasn’t educated enough to see that. She deserved to be where I am, sitting in prison doing time for criminal behavior,” she said. “If I had another chance to redo everything, I don’t know if I would go back to when I was a child and tell my aunts and uncles that I’m not sick and mommy makes me sick. Or, if I would travel back to just the point of that conversation with Nick and tell him, ‘You know what, I’m going to go tell the police everything.’ I kind of struggle with that.”
When was Gypsy Rose Blanchard being released from prison?
After seven years behind bars, Blanchard was released on parole early in the morning of Thursday, Dec. 28, officials confirmed to CBS News.
The first thing she wants to do after she’s paroled? Meet Taylor Swift.
The now 32-year-old admitted to TMZ that the singer’s song “Eyes Open” helped her push through the trauma from her mother’s alleged abuse. She has reportedly even purchased tickets to attend a Kansas City Chiefs game on New Year’s Eve.
An ebook, titled “Released: Conversations on the Eve of Freedom,” is also slated to come out on Jan. 9.
“Gypsy saw her story told by others again and again in the media, from news reports and podcasts to TV series,” a news release from Penguin Random House reads. “Now, granted early parole and preparing to start a new life, she’s free to speak directly to her supporters and the world.”
What is Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
Munchausen syndrome, now known as “factitious disorder,” is a serious mental disorder in which someone deceives others by appearing sick, by purposely getting sick or by self-injury,according to the Mayo Clinic. When family members or caregivers falsely present others as being ill, injured or impaired, this is known as “factitious disorder imposed on another,” or Munchausen by proxy.
Gypsy Blanchard has said that Dee Dee forced her use a wheelchair and said that she had a slew of physical illnesses and mental disabilities — even restraining her with dog leashes and handcuffs when she was disobedient,reported Inside Edition.
One of Blanchard’s former doctors even became suspicious of her muscular dystrophy diagnosis, writing in her file in 2007, “Analyzing all the facts, and after talking to her previous pediatrician, there is a strong possibility of Munchausen by proxy, with maybe some underlying unknown etiology to explain for her symptoms,” according to the now-defunct BuzzFeed News.
Studies show Munchausen syndrome by proxy is very rare, especially when compared with other types of child abuse.
“I want to make sure that people in abusive relationships do not resort to murder,” Blanchard told People. “It may seem like every avenue is closed off but there is always another way. Do anything, but don’t take this course of action.”