McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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In her own words

After being convicted of second degree murder of her mother in 2016, Gypsy Rose Blanchard successfully appealed for parole, and she was released this past December
Shortly after her release from prison, Munchhausen syndrome by proxy victim Gypsy Rose Blanchard tells her story in “The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard” docuseries.

In the summer of 2015, a young woman and her boyfriend orchestrated the brutal murder of her mother. Eight years after the crime, the daughter is the one gaining the sympathy and support from the people. 

The story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard is a complex one that has become familiar with the American public over the past eight years. 

In June of 2015, a twenty-three year old Blanchard, with the help of her (at the time) boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn, plotted and carried out the murder of her mother Dee Dee Blanchard. Initial reactions to the case were what typically comes with a murder trail, however, details revealed later about Blanchard’s motivations turned the tide of public opinion in her favor. This past December she was released on parole to a tidal wave of positivity from supporters. 

After her mothers death, Gypsy revealed to the world that she had been a victim of extensive abuse, both physical and mental, including Munchhausen syndrome by proxy. 

Munchhausen syndrome by proxy is defined as “a mental illness and a form of child abuse. The caretaker of a child, most often a mother, either makes up fake symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it look like the child is sick.” Munchhausen syndrome is a cornerstone of the Gypsy Blanchard case, as its consequences were key motivators for the actions Blanchard felt the need to enact. 

Gypsy’s mother, Dee Dee, convinced doctors for decades that her daughter had been born with illnesses like sleep apnea, muscular dystrophy, cancer, and experienced seizures, among other health issues. Dee Dee would shave Gypsy’s head, force her to use a wheelchair (despite her ability to walk), and often poison her to make her appear to have these conditions (of which she had none). 

Things went so far at one point that Dee Dee had Gypsy’s saliva glands removed, as Dee Dee had poisoned her with medicine that numbed her mouth causing doctors to believe her glands were overactive. This surgery caused Gypsy to lose her teeth. 

While doctors were suspicious given Dee Dee’s lack of medical records and forged birth certificates with different birth dates. She claimed all the records that proved Gypsy had these conditions were destroyed in hurricane Katrina. They had nothing to prove that she was faking it. Dee Dee’s manipulation was so extensive that she convinced an eighteen year old Gypsy that she was actually fourteen. 

Gypsy was isolated from the outside world, silenced as her mother took donations from charities for conditions Gypsy knew she did not have. She even developed an addiction to her mothers prescribed painkillers. 

The abuse was not just mental. Gypsy attempted to run away in 2010 with an (as of yet) anonymous boyfriend she had met online secret from her mother. However, the attempt was unsuccessful as the man, 36 at the time, was on parole and could not leave the state. When she returned to her mother, she was chained to her bed for several days. She claims she was physically abused on several occasions prior and after. 

All of these motivations and decades of abuse and manipulation culminated in the events of June 14, 2015, when Godejohn stabbed Dee Dee to death while Gypsy hid in the bathroom of her home. The pair ran away, but were apprehended. 

In the process of their court hearings, the public garnered sympathy for Gypsy. As her story began to be more understood, she gained an odd celebrity status. She was sentenced to ten years for second degree murder, while Godejohn was sentenced to life without parole. 

Gypsy, however, only served seven years of her sentence as she was deemed eligible for parole in December of 2023 and released. Since the incident and her incarceration, she has gotten clean from drugs, been married to Ryan Scott Anderson, and upon her release she was welcomed with open arms by supporters across the country. 

Is it morbid to celebrate the release of a convicted murderer? Perhaps, but it is undeniable that her situation was tragic, traumatic, abusive, and due to the circumstances of the case it is arguable that her actions were justified. Gypsy now walks through life with a positive outlook, and hopes to move on from her history, using her somewhat infamous reputation for good cause.

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