Gypsy Rose Blanchard feels more freedom in prison than she did living for years under the control of her now-dead mother.
Blanchard is serving 10 years in a Chillicothe, Mo., correctional center for her role in the stabbing death of Dee Dee Blanchard, a crime her then-boyfriend allegedly committed.
To understand why Gypsy feels free behind bars is to know the strange and horrific backstory out of Springfield, Mo., that reached to Kansas City.
Throughout Gypsy’s childhood, Dee Dee Blanchard kept her confined to a wheelchair even though the girl could walk. She fed her with a tube even though the girl could eat. Mom told everyone her daughter suffered from a host of maladies, from cancer to muscular dystrophy. There were countless doctor visits, unneeded medications and even pointless surgeries. The mother and daughter received sympathy and bounty from charitable organizations. They lived in a pink house with a wheelchair ramp built for them by Habitat for Humanity.
Dee Dee Blanchard often brought Gypsy to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, impressing at least one doctor and making friends at the Ronald McDonald House here.
It was all a sham, and Gypsy Blanchard says she was the main victim.
“I couldn’t walk,” she tells ABC of her forced situation. “I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t have friends.”
That is, until she began a secret online romance with a young man in Wisconsin named Nicholas Paul Godejohn. She says they hatched a plan to get rid of Dee Dee and live their lives together.
Dee Dee Blanchard was stabbed to death in her bed in June 2015. Gypsy Blanchard and Godejohn were arrested a few days later. She eventually took a plea deal. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
“It was not because I hated her,” Gypsy said of her mother’s killing, which she could hear while hiding in the bathroom. “It was because I wanted to escape her.”