Gypsy Rose Blanchard's Entire Case Timeline Explained

On Thursday, December 28, 2023, Gypsy Rose Blanchard walked out of the Chillicothe Correctional Center as a free woman for the first time in more than seven years. Gypsy had been serving time after being convicted of second-degree murder for the 2015 death of her mother Dee Dee Blanchard, but the case went much deeper than that. For decades leading up to her killing, Dee Dee had been dealing with a psychological disorder commonly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy — technically referred to as Factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA) – which resulted in her abusing her power as her daughter's guardian and caregiver. 

Dee Dee somehow managed to convince several doctors that Gypsy was suffering from various medical conditions, and convinced them to prescribe Gypsy medications for problems she did not have and perform unnecessary procedures. Gypsy was trapped in her mother's care and felt she had no escape. So in June 2015, at Gypsy's behest, she and her then-boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, murdered Dee Dee and went on the run. 

After quickly getting arrested, Godejohn and Gypsy both received lengthy prison terms, with Godejohn getting a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Yet, the case caught the attention of the nation and media, inspired multiple TV series and documentaries, and turned Gypsy into an unlikely social media star leading up to and following her release.

The wicked games of Dee Dee Blanchard

Practically from the time that Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born, her mother Dee Dee Blanchard subjected her to unnecessary medical procedures and operations. It's now widely thought that Dee Dee was dealing with a rare psychological disorder known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a condition where a caregiver or guardian will take advantage of their patient in order to get sympathy and attention from others. Within months of Gypsy's birth, Dee Dee was already having doctors give her daughter tests for sleep apnea, but even when they turned up negative, Dee Dee insisted it was real.

The illnesses kept coming despite a lack of physical evidence of their existence, and Dee Dee confined Gypsy to a wheelchair, even though she was fully capable of walking. Dee Dee also falsely told everyone that Gypsy was mentally handicapped due to a chromosomal defect. Some of the surgeries included the installation of a feeding tube, tubes in her ears, and the removal of her salivary glands. 

For the most part, Dee Dee did not allow Gypsy's estranged father to have much contact with her, and he was just as convinced as everyone else that the problems Gypsy was suffering from were real. He thought his daughter was suffering from diseases ranging from leukemia to muscular dystrophy, and at no point was he able to realize the horrible truth: That it was Dee Dee who was the truly ill one all along.

Gypsy was forced to lie about her health

As Gypsy Rose Blanchard grew older, she remained unaware of how her mother Dee Dee Blanchard was taking advantage of her. It was not until Gypsy turned 19 that she became fully cognizant that her mother was not treating her like a normal kid, even one who was supposedly chronically ill. By then, Gypsy was aware that both her feeding tube and wheelchair were unnecessary, but she still largely believed her mom when she told her about her various diseases or sicknesses. 

Despite her apparent handicaps, as Gypsy got older and started to act out more, Dee Dee turned both physically and verbally abusive. In addition to name-calling, she would beat her daughter if she acted out of line. Due to Dee Dee's manipulation, Gypsy was not even aware of her own age, because Dee Dee told her that she was really four years younger than she actually was. 

Another factor keeping Gypsy in her wheelchair and stopping her from speaking out was a deep fear that no one would believe her. After Gypsy ran away one time in 2011, her mother had her declared legally incompetent, so Gypsy assumed even if she did contact authorities, nobody would take her word over her mother's. As an adult, Gypsy developed a dependence on painkillers, which she used as a coping method to deal with her mother's constant abuse.

Dee Dee took advantage of Hurricane Katrina

Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born on July 27, 1991, in Louisiana, and she was still living there with her mother Dee Dee Blanchard when Hurricane Katrina hit in the summer of 2005. The two abandoned their house in Slidell after it ran out of power, and they soon moved to Missouri. Yet a curious thing happened when the family left Slidell: Gypsy's medical records seemed to vanish. Dee Dee claimed that they were lost in the flooding, which may have been true, but it's fair to speculate in light of her Munchausen syndrome by proxy that the records may have disappeared deliberately. Either way, the loss of Gypsy's records provided a convenient excuse for Dee Dee to explain Gypsy's lack of documented illnesses. 

Following their relocation to Missouri, Dee Dee took advantage of multiple charities by continuing to pretend Gypsy was sick. By 2008, this resulted in them not only getting things like paid vacations to Disney World and free air travel, but they even got a free house from the charitable organization Habitat for Humanity.

While Dee Dee was able to convince many people that Gypsy was seriously ill, at least one doctor saw through what was happening. In 2007, a doctor in Missouri evaluated Gypsy and concluded that Dee Dee was likely dealing with Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Yet, he never reported her to child protective services because he thought nobody would believe him, so Gypsy continued to face her mother's torment.

Gypsy tried to escape

In 2011, Gypsy Rose Blanchard tried to escape the clutches of her overbearing mother Dee Dee Blanchard for the very first time, but things did not go well. Gypsy fled and attempted to go live in Arkansas with a man she had met at a pop culture convention. When Dee Dee found out that Gypsy was gone, she immediately tracked her down and dragged her back to the prison that had become their home.

Gypsy's would-be rescuer was 35 years old and Gypsy was only 19, but Dee Dee had Gypsy convinced she was only 15, and had presumably fake papers to prove it. Had Gypsy or the man realized that she was actually 19, she could have refused to go with Dee Dee, but when Dee Dee threatened to call the police, with the documents showing Gypsy was a minor in hand, they caved.

Once they got home, Dee Dee turned violent. She broke both Gypsy's computer and cell phone, and she also threatened to break Gypsy's fingers with a hammer. For two weeks after the incident, Gypsy was locked to her bed in chains and a dog leash. Dee Dee practically controlled her every movement and would withhold food from her daughter, while tauntingly eating in front of her. The rest of the year went very poorly for Gypsy, as Dee Dee continued to make her life miserable in retaliation for running away.

Gypsy begins a relationship with Nicholas Godejohn

While Dee Dee Blanchard tried to exert as much control as possible over her daughter Gypsy Rose Blanchard, Gypsy still found ways to circumvent her mother's tight grasp. One of the few methods that Gypsy had to communicate with others was the internet, but even then, she had to hide what she was doing from her mother. Seeking companionship, Gypsy started to try online dating, and soon she began speaking with 26-year-old Nicholas Godejohn.

They originally met on a Christian singles website, and Godejohn was the first person that Gypsy started to talk with romantically. They exchanged messages with each other online, even going so far as to talk about getting married, but the relationship was not all that it may have seemed on the surface. Godejohn had a criminal record for a sexual offense which involved watching pornography and exposing himself in public, and he also seemed to be dealing with dissociative identity disorder. Godejohn felt he had multiple personalities, and he asked Gypsy to accommodate them by inventing personalities for herself. This way, Godejohn's other personalities would have girlfriends, too.

After they had been talking for some time, Godejohn introduced Gypsy to the practice of BDSM, where she took on a submissive role in the relationship. At one point, Godejohn's ex-girlfriend contacted Gypsy to warn her about dating him. Still, she dismissed the concerns as the rantings of an ex-girlfriend and continued to speak with Godejohn online.

Gypsy and Godejohn plan to murder Dee Dee

In March 2015, after years of exchanging messages with each other online, Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Nicholas Godejohn finally met each other in person for the first time. Godejohn, who was from Wisconsin, traveled all the way to Missouri to meet both Gypsy and her mother Dee Dee Blanchard. They all saw the Disney movie "Cinderella," and Gypsy even lost her virginity to Godejohn that night at the theater. Yet, Dee Dee balked at the idea of Gypsy and Godejohn continuing to see each other in person.

Gypsy had already confided in him about the reality of her mother forcing her to pretend that she was sick, and soon their relationship started to take a very dark turn. Feeling completely trapped by her mother, Gypsy started to broach the idea with Godejohn about killing Dee Dee. At one point, the couple had considered getting Gypsy pregnant in order to ensure that Godejohn would have a permanent place in her life, but they scrapped that idea in favor of killing Dee Dee instead.

Gypsy and Godejohn plotted Dee Dee's murder for several weeks, and in early June 2015, Godejohn returned to Missouri from Wisconsin to carry out the final act.

Dee Dee Blanchard is murdered

Once Nicholas Godejohn arrived in Springfield, Missouri, he and Gypsy Rose Blanchard immediately began making preparations to murder her mother Dee Dee Blanchard. They went to a local Walmart and stole a knife for Godejohn to use, and the following night of June 9, 2015, they waited for Dee Dee to go to sleep. 

That night, the two ladies stayed up late painting each other's nails. Though they had recently gotten into an argument with each other, they had managed to reconcile, yet Dee Dee was nervous that Gypsy was going to hurt her. The last thing that Dee Dee said to Gypsy before going to sleep was, "Don't hurt me," but she had no idea that Godejohn was already waiting to kill her (via the documentary "Mommy Dead and Dearest").

Shortly after Dee Dee went to sleep, Gypsy allowed Godejohn into their house, but she could not watch him actually carry out the murder. Gypsy hid in the bathroom and tried to block out the sound, while Godejohn repeatedly stabbed Dee Dee to death. As he was doing so, Dee Dee called out to her daughter to save her, but Gypsy stayed in the bathroom until she was dead. Even more disturbingly, Gypsy claims that Godejohn wanted to sexually assault Dee Dee after killing her. Instead, Gypsy convinced him to assault her instead, after which they fled the house.

Police track down Gypsy and Godejohn

As soon as Nicholas Godejohn and Gypsy Rose Blanchard carried out the gruesome murder of Dee Dee Blanchard, they started to plan their exit. They wiped down the crime scene, gathered up their belongings, and then made their way to a hotel. Once there, the couple took multiple videos of themselves laughing and joking around, and showed very little remorse for the brutal killing that had occurred mere hours before.

Immediately after killing her mother, Gypsy managed to get ahold of Dee Dee's Facebook account. Under Dee Dee's name, Gypsy made several postings alluding to her death, and Godejohn also appeared to make a post describing the murder in graphic detail. These posts alerted Dee Dee's friends that something was amiss, but it was not until June 14, 2015, several days after she had died, that police entered the Blanchard house with a warrant. They found Dee Dee's dead body, but Gypsy's whereabouts were unknown, and at first, they assumed that Gypsy was a victim, too.

However, police quickly realized that Gypsy was involved, and they were able to track the couple back to Godejohn's residence in Wisconsin through the Facebook posts. The police arrested the couple on June 15, 2015, and charged them with Dee Dee's murder.

Gypsy received 10 years in prison

After her arrest, the police questioned Gypsy Rose Blanchard about the death of her mother Dee Dee Blanchard, but she denied knowing about it. She acted surprised and devastated when she they first told her that Dee Dee was dead, but the police knew the truth. Still, it was not until Gypsy went to court and realized that the prosecution had text messages incriminating her, that she started to acknowledge her part in the killing.

At first, prosecutors charged both Gypsy and her accomplice Nicholas Godejohn with first-degree murder. They did not seek the death penalty, though they could have, and they later dropped Gypsy's charge down to second-degree murder through a plea deal. In July 2016, just over a year after orchestrating the murder of Dee Dee, Gypsy received a 10-year prison sentence in Missouri. According to the prosecutors, the only reason they did not charge Gypsy with first-degree murder is because they were sympathetic to the horrendous circumstances surrounding Dee Dee's Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Godejohn is convicted of Dee Dee's murder

When the police interrogated Nicholas Godejohn about the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard, he admitted the role he played by stabbing her to death. He claimed that he did so because of his deep love for Gypsy Rose Blanchard, even going as far as to say that he would not have carried out the murder without her prompting (via "Mommy Dead and Dearest").

At his trial in November 2018, a jury found Godejohn guilty of first-degree murder. While prosecutors had lessened Gypsy's charge to second-degree murder and offered her a plea deal, they kept Godejohn's charges as first-degree murder because he was the one who actually carried out the killing. Three months later, in February 2019, a judge gave him life in prison without the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder charge, and he also gave Godejohn 25 years for armed criminal action, though the latter was largely symbolic.

During the trial, Gypsy testified that she had orchestrated the murder of her mother, and that Godejohn was doing so at her behest. Godejohn's attorneys tried to base their defense on a claim that he was not mentally competent at the time of the killing. Since his conviction, Godejohn has filed numerous appeals, including in December 2023, in which he argued for a new trial based on ineffective counsel. However, none have so far been successful.

Gypsy starts a new relationship behind bars

When Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Nicholas Godejohn carried out the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard, the two thought they were deeply in love. However, their arrest and extended incarceration proved to be too much to keep the relationship together. Eventually, Gypsy stopped having romantic feelings for Godejohn altogether, after realizing that the relationship was extremely unhealthy for her. In addition, part of the terms of her parole, following her 2023 release, is that she cannot contact Godejohn.

In 2019, three years after beginning her sentence, Gypsy became engaged for the first time. However, the relationship did not work out, and they called off the wedding. After that relationship ended, a man named Ryan Scott Anderson began writing Blanchard in 2020, while the COVID-19 pandemic was going on. Gypsy responded, and they began exchanging letters and talking on the phone, before eventually meeting in person while Gypsy was still behind bars.

In June 2022, the two formally obtained a marriage license, and they got married a month later at the prison. Anderson is also a native of Louisiana, like Blanchard, and is six years her senior.

Gypsy is released from prison in 2023

In September 2023, authorities announced that Gypsy Rose Blanchard was going to be leaving prison on parole before the end of the year. Blanchard had been incarcerated since her initial arrest in June 2015, and authorities released her on December 28, 2023, putting her total time behind bars at just over eight years.

In the years that Blanchard was away, her story became greatly sensationalized in the media, making her into somewhat of a celebrity and social media star. Major networks, including HBO, Hulu, and Lifetime, made documentaries or series dramatizing her life, and she gave several interviews to media outlets.

When Blanchard left prison, she began a career as a social media influencer. Her very first Instagram post, which she captioned "First selfie of freedom!," received more than 6.5 million likes within a month of her posting it, and her profile has more than 8 million followers. She also released a book about her experiences that quickly became a No. 1 new release on Amazon. Rose is still on parole following her release, but she hopes to use her newfound social media following to help inspire change in the world, as she adjusts to life on the outside.

If you or anyone you know may be the victim of child abuse, is dealing with domestic abuse, needs help with mental health, or is a victim of sexual assault, contact the relevant resources below: