Dee Dee Blancharde’s death was announced unceremoniously, on a Facebook page she shared with her daughter Gypsy. “That Bitch is dead!,” reads a post published Sunday, followed by a stomach-turning comment from the same shared account: “I fucken SLASHED THAT FAT PIG AND RAPED HER SWEET INNOCENT DAUGHTER...HER SCREAM WAS SOOOO FUCKEN LOUD LOL.”
Blancharde, 48, was found “deceased of a violent nature” in her home later that day, police said. Her daughter Gypsy Blancharde and Gypsy’s boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn were arrested Tuesday after Gypsy was reported missing and later found on the run in Wisconsin with Godejohn and thousands of dollars that had evidently been taken from Dee Dee’s safe. Godejohn told police he traveled to Missouri from Wisconsin and stabbed Dee Dee to death at Gypsy’s request, NBC reports. Gypsy reportedly hid in the bathroom during the murder.
According to the Springfield News-Leader, Gypsy told police that she cleaned up the blood using baby wipes, then called a cab to pick her and Godejohn up from the house. She also said that she made the Facebook posts so that her mother’s body would be found more quickly. The taxi driver told the News-Leader that the ride didn’t strike him as suspicious: “It was just a normal pick-up for me.”
Neighbors knew Gypsy Blancharde as a disabled 19-year-old who suffered from leukemia and muscular dystrophy, but it’s likely that none of those things are true. Greene County Sherrif Jim Arnott said that Blancharde could be as old as 23, and shortly after police arrested Blancharde, they discovered that she could walk without her wheelchair.
Bobby Pitre, Dee Dee Blancharde’s nephew, told local NBC outlet KSDK that Dee Dee “imprisoned” Gypsy, forcing her to shave her head, use a wheelchair, and take seizure medicine that made her teeth fall out. From KSDK:
Pitre said Dee Dee made Gypsy pretend like she had muscular dystrophy, forced the girl to take seizure medication that made her teeth fall out and even shaved the girl’s head so it would look like she had leukemia.
Pitre said there were instances when Gypsy would get out of her wheelchair and push other children around. He said Gypsy once got up and started jumping on a trampoline only to “collapse” when Dee Dee came outside and saw her.
Pitre — who lives in Larose, Louisiana — said when family members started confronting Dee Dee about her treatment of Gypsy, the mother stopped communicating with the family. Pitre said he has not talked with Dee Dee or Gypsy for the past 15 years.
“It was basically all a fraud,” Pitre said. “I was so disgusted with the woman. I could not believe what she was doing.”
Pitre said he believed Dee Dee’s intention was to keep Gypsy from having her own life. He said Gypsy was home-schooled and spent most of her time at her mother’s side.
“Dee Dee would keep her as close as she possibly could,” Pitre said. “I think that’s how Dee Dee wanted it. I don’t think she ever wanted her to leave.”
The feigned disability may have been part of a larger pattern of fraud. The Blanchardes, who lived in a Habitat for Humanity home, told neighbors in Missouri that Hurricane Katrina had destroyed their house in Louisiana. Police have been unable to verify that claim, NBC reports. Arnott said at a press conference yesterday that the family had received donations under “false pretenses.”
The Blanchardes received a fair amount of media coverage over the years before Dee Dee’s death. In 2003, Gypsy Blancharde told the Times-Picayune that an organization called the Children’s Wish Endowment had sent her to Disney World because of her alleged condition, News-Leader columnist Steve Pokin notes. Pokin also points to a 2009 magazine article in which Dee Dee Blancharde alleges that all of Gypsy’s medical records were lost in Katrina. At AL.com, Crystal Bonvillian remembers keeping a photo of Gypsy Blancharde at her desk for years following an interview with the then eight-year-old about her illness.
Gypsy Blancharde and Nicholas Godejohn are in custody in Wisconsin on $1 million bail, and will soon be extradited to Missouri, NBC reports.