The Life And Death Of Dee Dee Blanchard, The ‘Munchausen By Proxy’ Mom Who Pretended Her Daughter Was Sick

Published May 30, 2023
Updated December 12, 2023

For more than 20 years, Dee Dee Blanchard posed as the selfless caregiver of her allegedly ill daughter — until Gypsy Rose and her boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn conspired to kill her.

Dee Dee Blanchard

HBODee Dee Blanchard (right) with her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard (left).

On the surface, Dee Dee Blanchard seemed like the ultimate caregiver. She was a single mother who did whatever it took to help her severely ill daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard. So, when Dee Dee was found brutally stabbed to death in her Missouri home in June 2015, many were horrified — especially since the wheelchair-bound Gypsy Rose was missing.

But police would soon find out that Dee Dee was not the loving mother she made herself out to be. Instead, she had been medically abusing her daughter for over two decades, inventing numerous diseases that Gypsy Rose didn’t actually have, and then “caring” for her “sick” daughter.

As it turned out, Gypsy Rose Blanchard was not sick at all, she could walk perfectly fine without a wheelchair, her mother’s ill-advised “treatments” were often hurting her rather than helping her — and she was the one who arranged for her mother to be murdered in the first place.

Upon hearing about Dee Dee Blanchard’s gruesome demise, people who knew her had quite a lot to say about her past, revealing stories that paint an overwhelmingly disturbing image of the life and death of a mother with a severe case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. This is her chilling story.

The Early Life Of Dee Dee Blanchard

Young Dee Dee Blanchard

HBOA young Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard.

Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard (née Pitre) was born May 3, 1967, in Chackbay, Louisiana to her parents Claude Anthony Pitre Sr. and Emma Lois Gisclair. Even as a child, Dee Dee attracted attention for her bizarre and cruel behavior. Her own family members had negative things to say about her.

“She was a very filthy person,” her stepmother, Laura Pitre, said in an HBO documentary about the case titled Mommy Dead and Dearest. “If it didn’t go her way, she’d see to it that you would pay. And did we pay. Paid a lot.”

According to Rolling Stone, Dee Dee would often steal items from her family. They also accused her of credit card fraud and writing bad checks.

In a surprising allegation from Laura, she claimed that Dee Dee once attempted to kill her by putting the weed killer Roundup in her food. Laura ultimately survived the poisoning but had to spend nine months in recovery.

The family’s claims don’t stop there. They also accuse Dee Dee of killing her own mother Emma. And Gypsy Rose’s stepmother, Kristy Blanchard, agrees with that allegation. She claimed, as reported by Distractify, “The day that her mom died Dee Dee was in the house somewhere, and Dee Dee was starving her. Dee Dee wasn’t giving her anything to eat.”

Although many of these claims are hard to prove with what little physical evidence exists, many believe in their validity given the horrors that Dee Dee Blanchard would subject her own daughter to later in life.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard Is Born And The Abuse Begins

Family Of Gypsy Rose Blanchard

YouTubeA young Dee Dee Blanchard with her daughter Gypsy Rose.

Dee Dee eventually moved away from her family, becoming a nurse’s aide and meeting and dating Rod Blanchard — who was seven years her junior.

At the age of 24, Dee Dee became pregnant with her daughter, Gypsy Rose. Gypsy’s father, Rod, was just 17 years old at the time that Dee Dee got pregnant and he married Dee Dee to better take care of the new baby. But the couple soon separated when Rod realized he was in way over his head.

“I woke up on my birthday, on my 18th birthday, and realized I wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” he explained to Buzzfeed. “I wasn’t in love with her, really. I knew I got married for the wrong reasons.”

On July 27, 1991, Dee Dee gave birth to Gypsy Rose in Golden Meadow, Louisiana. Even after the new parents ended their relationship, Dee Dee and Rod remained in contact about Gypsy’s development. Three months after her birth, Gypsy Rose’s alleged medical issues first became known to Rod.

Dee Dee reportedly took Gypsy Rose to the hospital and complained to doctors that her baby frequently stopped breathing in the middle of the night. After several tests, doctors could not find anything wrong with the infant, but Dee Dee was adamant that her baby’s health was in danger.

Before long, Dee Dee started telling Rod about Gypsy Rose’s many health issues, which included sleep apnea and a chromosomal defect. At first, Rod trusted that Dee Dee was doing the best that she could for their daughter. After all, Dee Dee was hyper-vigilant about Gypsy Rose’s problems and always sought out medical care whenever it was needed.

Gypsy Rose’s father had no reason to suspect that Dee Dee was willfully subjecting their daughter to unnecessary and often painful medical procedures to treat illnesses that weren’t actually there.

Dee Dee Blanchard’s Lies Continue

While living in Louisiana, Dee Dee Blanchard took Gypsy Rose to the hospital for what seemed like every medical issue under the sun.

She started Gypsy Rose on anti-seizure medications after reporting her daughter’s seizures to doctors. She also insisted that Gypsy Rose had muscular dystrophy even after tests showed otherwise.

Some of Gypsy Rose’s other alleged ailments included visual impairments, severe asthma, and even leukemia. She was eventually confined to a wheelchair. Regardless of test results showing Gypsy Rose was healthy, many doctors still performed operations on her at Dee Dee’s request. Gypsy Rose also took many unnecessary medications.

Dee Dee managed to fool doctors by showcasing her elaborate knowledge of medical terminology. For every question, she would have a rapid-fire answer. This was likely due to her past experience as a nurse’s aide.

And as Gypsy Rose got older, Dee Dee managed to avoid the medical paperwork requirement at hospitals by telling doctors that Hurricane Katrina, a 2005 storm that ravaged Louisiana, had destroyed Gypsy Rose’s medical records. (This also paved the way for Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose to get a new home in Springfield, Missouri, built by Habitat for Humanity.)

And even if some doctors became suspicious about whether Gypsy Rose Blanchard was actually sick, Dee Dee would simply go see other doctors.

Inevitably, the story of a single mother and her terminally ill daughter made headlines wherever they went. Charities and other organizations reached out to Dee Dee and offered several benefits: free flights to and from various medical facilities, free vacations, free tickets to concerts, and so on.

To keep the freebies coming in, Dee Dee continued to medically abuse her daughter. She also sometimes hit Gypsy Rose, restrained her to her bed, and even starved her in order to keep her child compliant with her narrative.

“I think Dee Dee’s problem was she started a web of lies, and there was no escaping after,” her former husband Rod Blanchard later explained to Buzzfeed.

“She got so wound up in it, it was like a tornado got started, and then once she was in so deep that there was no escaping. One lie had to cover another lie, had to cover another lie, and that was her way of life.” This web of lies would eventually lead to Dee Dee Blanchard’s bloody death.

A Disturbing Discovery At The Blanchard Home

Home Of Gypsy Rose And Dee Dee Blanchard

Greene County Sheriff’s OfficeDee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s home in Springfield, Missouri, which was built by Habitat for Humanity.

On June 14, 2015, a disturbing post appeared on Dee Dee’s Facebook page:

Soon afterward, another chilling message appeared on the page: “I f*cken SLASHED THAT FAT PIG AND RAPED HER SWEET INNOCENT DAUGHTER…HER SCREAM WAS SOOOO F*CKEN LOUD LOL.”

The posts worried Dee Dee’s friends, and they contacted police to conduct a welfare check on her and Gypsy Rose at their home in Springfield, Missouri.

What they found there was even more disturbing than the Facebook posts.

Upon entering the home, police discovered the bloody body of Dee Dee Blanchard in her bedroom. An unknown assailant had fatally stabbed her 17 times in the back. Apparently, she’d been dead for days.

However, police were unable to find Gypsy Rose Blanchard, sparking a massive panic in the local community who knew her as the young, sickly girl who required multiple medications to even stay alive.

If the murderer had taken Gypsy Rose, many feared that she would not live long without the care that her mother gave her on a daily basis.

Luckily, police received a tip from one of Gypsy Rose’s friends, Aleah Woodmansee. She told officers that Gypsy Rose was speaking to a secret online boyfriend, and that their relationship was getting pretty serious.

It didn’t take long for authorities to track down the young man that Gypsy Rose had become so infatuated with: Nicholas Godejohn.

The Truth About Gypsy Rose Blanchard And Why She Had Her Mother Killed

Gypsy Rose Blanchard

Nathan Papes/News-LeaderGypsy Rose Blanchard at the trial of her former boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn in 2018.

By tracking the IP address of the poster who created the disturbing messages on Dee Dee Blanchard’s Facebook page, police were able to locate Nicholas Godejohn’s home in Wisconsin. There, police officers found Gypsy Rose Blanchard — miraculously standing and walking on her own.

Further investigation and eventual confessions from the two young lovers revealed a detailed plot to kill Dee Dee and free Gypsy Rose from her medical enslavement. As Gypsy Rose later put it: “I wanted to escape her.”

With Gypsy Rose’s instruction and assistance, Nicholas Godejohn entered the Blanchard home on the night of the murder and killed Dee Dee. The two then ran away together to Godejohn’s home, where they remained until police located them. It took less than 48 hours after the Facebook posts for authorities to arrest the couple, according to ABC News.

Inevitably, the world found out that Gypsy Rose Blanchard was not the sick child her mother made her out to be, but instead a healthy young woman. At the time of the murder, Gypsy Rose was 23 years old and in near-optimal health, save for some issues that her mother had likely caused — such as rotting teeth due to either poor dental care or overuse of medications.

This revelation shocked friends, family, and everyone who had heard of Gypsy Rose’s story. Experts now believe that Dee Dee Blanchard suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which an individual makes up medical issues for people in their care to gain attention.

In 2016, Gypsy Rose Blanchard received 10 years in prison for second-degree murder. (Nicholas Godejohn received life in prison for first-degree murder.) Behind bars, Gypsy Rose has had the chance to look up Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and thinks that her mother matched the symptoms.

Gypsy Rose told Buzzfeed: “The doctors thought that she was so devoted and caring. I think she would have been the perfect mom for someone that actually was sick. But I’m not sick. There’s that big, big difference.”

She also stated that she feels more free in prison than she did with her mother: “This time [in prison] is good for me. I’ve been raised to do what my mother taught me to do. And those things aren’t very good… She taught me to lie, and I don’t wanna lie. I want to be a good, honest person.”

Currently, Gypsy Rose Blanchard is still serving out her 10-year prison sentence at the Chillicothe Correctional Center in Missouri, but it’s possible that she could be paroled as early as December 2023.

After reading about Dee Dee Blanchard, read about another disturbing case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy in the story of serial killer nurse Beverley Allitt. Then, discover the chilling crimes of Isabella Guzman, the young girl who brutally stabbed her mother 79 times.

Amber Breese
Amber Breese is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Breese, Amber. "The Life And Death Of Dee Dee Blanchard, The ‘Munchausen By Proxy’ Mom Who Pretended Her Daughter Was Sick.", May 30, 2023, Accessed April 18, 2024.