Hulu’s new true-crime miniseries The Act, certification Patricia Arquette and also Joey King, dramatizes the creepier-than-fiction story of Gypsy rose Blanchard, that in 2016 was sentenced come ten year in prison for murdering her mother, Claudine “Dee Dee” Blanchard. Friends and neighbors knew Gypsy together a sickly, wheelchair-bound child, and also Dee Dee as her dedicated caregiver, yet after Dee Dee’s death the fact emerged: Gypsy was perfectly healthy, yet had been compelled to pretend otherwise by her mother. Over the first two decades of her life, Gypsy was based on a battery that unnecessary medical procedures, forced to use a wheelchair and also feeding tube, and also denied any type of semblance that a normal life: She didn’t attend college past 2nd grade, and also never left the house without her mother.
In she 2016 BuzzFeed post detailing the extraordinary case, Michelle Dean—who currently serves together co-showrunner and executive producer top top The Act—noted that Dee Dee’s behavior was indicative of Munchausen by Proxy syndrome (a variation on Munchausen syndrome, by which a human being feigns or induces symptom of condition in themselves). After two decades of being abused and effectively held prisoner, Gypsy come up with an escape plan, enlisting her friend Nick Godejohn to murder Dee Dee.
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If you haven’t already dived into the first four illustration of The Act (which are streaming now on Hulu) climate truly, what room you wait for? If you have, and are curious to understand more, here’s a substantial timeline that Dee Dee’s murder, Gypsy’s trial, and the disturbing sequence of occasions that came before both.
Dee Dee and Gypsy move into a house constructed for castle by Habitat because that Humanity. The two moved from Slidell, Louisiana to Aurora, Missouri in September 2005, and also lived in a rental home prior to the Habitat because that Humanity home was completed. Per BuzzFeed, Dee Dee claimed that their residence in Louisiana had actually been hit by Hurricane Katrina, and also their apartment destroyed. She also claimed the Gypsy’s medical records had been destroyed in the overwhelming (this was later uncovered not to be the case; numerous of her documents did, in fact, endure Katrina) and that she daughter endured from a selection of chronic illnesses every stemming from “chromosomal defects," including muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, severe allergies, and also asthma. At the time they moved into the house, Gypsy to be wheelchair-bound and used a feeding tube and also sometimes an oxygen tank.
Gypsy made she first, and seemingly only, escape attempt. After meeting a man (his identity was kept anonymous in Dean"s Buzzfeed article) at a science fiction convention she attended through Dee Dee, Gypsy started communicating with the male online. She was 19 at the moment (though she and her mother asserted she to be 15) and the man was 35. He took Gypsy ago to his hotel room, yet Dee Dee discovered them and presented paperwork stating the Gypsy was a minor. In the HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, Gypsy recalls Dee Dee saying, “If girlfriend ever shot to execute that again, I’m going come smash your fingers with a hammer.” throughout Godejohn’s trial, Gypsy testified the after she escape attempt, Dee Dee smashed her computer and also cellphones, and chained she to her bed for 2 weeks.
2012During this year, per BuzzFeed, Gypsy continued to usage the net in secret after Dee Dee visited bed. While utilizing a Christian date site, she eventually met a male named Nicholas Godejohn. He was from huge Bend, Wisconsin and had to be diagnosed with autism. In 2013, he had pleaded no dispute to disorderly conduct because that allegedly viewing pornography ~ above his laptop at a McDonald’s and touching self inappropriately. Gypsy and Godejohn go on to have actually a mystery online relationship for two and a fifty percent years.
This to be the year Gypsy very first confided in she neighbor, Aleah Woodmansee, around her partnership with Godejohn. According to BuzzFeed, Gypsy called Woodmansee the she and also Godejohn to be planning a future together, had questioned eloping, and had sex-related exchanges virtual that included facets of BDSM. Alarmed—in part because she still believed Gypsy to it is in a minor—Woodmansee supposedly tried to talk her the end of continuing call with Godejohn, however assumed the the actual plan were just a fantasy.
Gypsy and Godejohn come up v a plan to phase a conference in real life in Dee Dee’s presence, hoping that Dee Dee might permit them to day if she thought they met for the first time in person. Godejohn travel to Springfield, Missouri to meet Gypsy and Dee Dee in ~ a movie theater, where they were going to see Disney’s Cinderella. The meeting did no go as planned—Dee Dee hated Godejohn—but Gypsy was still able to sneak away and also lose she virginity to Godejohn in a toilet stall, according to she testimony at his trial.
According to abc News, Dee Dee punished Gypsy ~ the movie theater incident. “She acquired jealous, since I was spending a little too lot attention on him, and she had actually ordered me to remain away indigenous him,” Gypsy said 20/20. “And needless to say, the was a really long argument that lasted a couple weeks. Yelling, throwing things, call me names: bitch, slut, whore.”
It was after this day, according to Gypsy, that she chose Dee Dee had actually to die. “It to be not because I hated her. That was due to the fact that I wanted to escape her,” she said.
June 2015On the job of the murder, per alphabet News, Godejohn traveled to Missouri, checked into a motel, and awaited a message from Gypsy. As soon as he gained confirmation the Dee Dee to be asleep, he went to the Blanchards’ home where Gypsy gave him a knife. She then saw hide in the bathroom with her hands over her ear while Godejohn stabbed Dee Dee to death.
“I honestly believed he would finish up no doing it,” Gypsy called 20/20. “I heard her scream once, and there was much more screaming but not like the type in a fear film. As with a startled scream, and she asked, ‘Who was it that remained in the bedroom?’ and also she referred to as out to my name around three or 4 times, and also at the point, I want to go assist her so bad, however I to be so fear to gain up. It"s favor my body wouldn"t move. Then every little thing just go quiet.”
Both Gypsy and Godejohn speak they had sex in Gypsy"s bed in the Blanchard house automatically following the murder, according to abc News.
June 14, 2015
After the murder, follow to People, Gypsy and Godejohn stayed overnight in ~ his motel in Springfield, prior to catching a bus to his home in big Bend, Wisconsin top top June 14.
That afternoon, a pair of mental posts appeared on Dee Dee’s on facebook page. “That Bitch is dead!” to be the first message, top friends and neighbors come wonder even if it is the account had actually been hacked. But the 2nd message make it clean something was wrong, and prompted neighbors to alert the police: “I fucken SLASHED that FAT PIG and also RAPED she SWEET innocent DAUGHTER…HER SCREAM was SOOOO FUCKEN according to LOL.”
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It was later evidenced that Gypsy urged Godejohn to post the updates, come ensure that Dee Dee’s body would be found. “I couldn"t was standing the assumed of her simply there because what happens if it would have actually taken month to uncover her, therefore I want her discovered so she can have a ideal burial,” Gypsy told 20/20.
After obtaining a warrant, police gotten in the Blanchards’ house and also found Dee Dee’s body. Woodmansee told police around Gypsy and also Godejohn’s relationship, and the police were then able to achieve his IP resolve from Facebook, and also track him and Gypsy under at his residence in Wisconsin.
June 15, 2015
Police agencies in Waukesha County, Wisconsin raided Godejohn’s family’s house in huge Bend, and also took Gypsy and also Godejohn into custody on dues of murder and also felony armed criminal action. The pair were extradited ago to Missouri and also held ~ above a $1 million bond. Although girlfriend of the Blanchards were initially relieved to hear that Gypsy had been uncovered alive, the Springfield sheriff warned in a press conference that “things room not constantly as castle appear,” foreshadowing the news the would shortly be reported. Soon, it emerged that Gypsy had actually never to be sick, and also Dee Dee had actually engineered the years-long ruse that had fooled their entire community.
July 5, 2016
Gypsy pleaded guilty come murdering Dee Dee, and also was sentenced to ten year in jail for second-degree murder. At the sentencing, prosecutor Dan Patterson provided the "extraordinary and also unusual" scenarios of the case. That told the Springfield News-Leader that when he believed he might have secured a first-degree killing conviction, which can bring the fatality penalty or life without parole in the state of Missouri, that didn’t believe it would be fair provided the abuse Gypsy had suffered.
Nicholas Godejohn was found guilty that first-degree murder after a four day trial, during which Gypsy testified that the arrangement to death Dee Dee originated through her, and also spoke about the “master and slave” function that she and also Godejohn assumed within their relationship. She also testified the Godejohn claimed he want to rape Dee Dee ~ above the night the the murder, and that she had offered herself come him in her mother’s place.
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February 22, 2019Nicholas Godejohn to be sentenced come life in jail without the opportunity of parole because that first-degree murder, and also a concurrent 25-year sentence top top the fee of equipped criminal action.
Emma DibdinEmma Dibdin is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles that writes around culture, psychological health, and true crime.
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