This Day In History: June 14

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On June 14, 2015, sheriff’s deputies in Missouri discover a grisly scene: the bloody body of Claudine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, who had been stabbed to death a few days before. The murder of Blanchard, lying face down in bed in a pool of blood, becomes a highly publicized case about Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a rare mental illness and form of child abuse where a caretaker feigns a child’s dire symptoms—or induces real ones—to gain sympathy and/or financial support.

Police found Blanchard’s body after her concerned friends saw an alarming post from her 24-year-old daughter, Gypsy Rose, on the elder Blanchard’s Facebook page that said: “That Bitch is dead!” After friends alerted the authorities, police traced the post’s IP address to Big Bend, Wisconsin, where Gypsy Rose and her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, were staying. Both the daughter and Godejohn were arrested for Dee Dee Blanchard’s murder, and in 2016, Gypsy Rose Blanchard pleaded guilty to second-degree murder; two years later, Godejohn was convicted of first-degree murder. She and her boyfriend, who did the stabbing while she hid in a bathroom, conspired to murder Dee Dee Blanchard because of her lifelong physical and emotional abuse.

From Gypsy Rose’s infancy until her early 20s, Dee Dee brought her to more than 100 different doctors, claiming fictitious ailments ranging from Down’s Syndrome and muscular dystrophy to epilepsy and leukemia. According to Gypsy’s stepmother Kristy Blanchard, Dee Dee stole prescription pads from the hospital where she worked as a nurse’s aide to acquire drugs that would induce symptoms to fool doctors. Gypsy underwent years of unnecessary treatments and surgeries, including eye surgery, removal of her salivary glands and insertion of a feeding tube. Dee Dee shaved her daughter’s head to make it look like she was undergoing chemotherapy and forced her to use a wheelchair. Local neighbors, media and charities all rallied around mother and daughter, praising Dee Dee as a paragon of selfless devotion and showering them with everything from a free house to an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World.

The bizarre case became the subject of documentaries, including HBO’s "Mommy Dead and Dearest," Hulu’s "The Act" and Lifetime’s "The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard."

After being sentenced to 10 years in prison, Gypsy Rose Blanchard was released early, on December 28, 2023. Married while she was still in prison, she and her husband filed for divorce in April 2024. Gypsy expressed remorse for her mother’s murder in a 2023 interview.

Stream the Lifetime original series The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard now in the Lifetime app.