“True Crime”, Blanchard, Bridget Mire, caregiver, child abuse, child victims, Clauddinea Blancharde, confinement, court, Cruelty to Children, Daily Comet, Dee Dee Blancharde, donations, empathy, fake pregnancy, funds, Georgia, Gypsy Blancharde, Hercules, homicide, housing, invalid, irony, killing daughter, Leslie Wilfred, leukemia, life in prison, life sentence, Loren Grush, Louisiana, Marybeth Tinning, medical procedures, medical tests, mental disorder, Missouri, mortality rate, mother, motivation, MSBP, Munchausen Syndrome, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, murder, New Orleans Children’s Hospital, New Orleans Ronald McDonald House, New York, Nicholas Godejohn, non-existent ailments, perpetrator, presumption of innocence, psychological need, purported ailments, response, serious harm, serious medical disorder, SIDS, Springfield MO, sympathy, Theft by Deception, Thibodaux LA, victimization, wheel chair, Xena
Could it be Clauddinnea (Dee Dee) Blancharde suffered from a form of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP)? This is a mental disorder in which a caregiver, usually a mother, attributes all manner of serious medical disorders to one or more of her children. The ailments are non-existent or exaggerated, and the caregiver knows it! MSPB sufferers have a deep psychological need to elicit sympathy from relatives, friends and members of the community.
They often accept and solicit donations from concerned individuals. Although the overall psychological need is for sympathy, ancillary venal motivations are sometimes present such as collecting donations for medical trips, hospital and clinic cost, etc.
For mothers with MSBP, there have been numerous documentation of serious harm inflicted on child victims. MSBP is one of the more deadly forms of child abuse with mortality rates thought to approach 8-10 percent. Children have often been given small doses of poison to induce medical symptoms which will subject the child victim to many unnecessary and often painful medical tests and procedures. MSBP sufferers are frequently very solicitous of medical personnel to gain their help in carrying out their plot.
The deadliest known incident of Munchausen’s by Proxy occurred in Schenectady, New York. Marybeth Tinning, a nurse. had eight children die of mysterious illnesses from 1972 to 1985. Many were suspected of dying of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or some kind of “mysterious death gene.” She was convicted of the 2nd degree murder of her youngest daughter in 1987. Jim Fisher wrote extensively about this case in his TRUE CRIME blog. New York State inmate records show her next parole hearing date is in January 2017. Her motivation was to garner sympathy for herself, and monetary gain was not part of the equation. She seemed oblivious to killing her daughter. Tinning is now viewed by her community as a serial killer.
Loren Grush of Fox News: “The Munchausen Mom: How one woman fabricated the pregnancy – and deaths – of imaginary twins” tells the story of ‘Munchausen mom’ Leslie Wilfred. According to the article, Wilfred faked her own pregnancy – producing an ultrasound of another woman’s fetus, then staged an elaborate funeral service for the sole purpose of evoking empathy from the community of Thomasville, Georgia. She would later manufacture a story of a daughter who had Leukemia, and solicited funds to assist in her medical treatment. The Grush story related other disturbing incidents with other children in the family. A check of Georgia prison inmate records shows she was incarcerated for six counts of Cruelty to Children and one count of Theft by Deception. Leslie Wilfred entered prison in July 2011, and was released on parole in July 2014.
Fast forward to June 2015, and the unfathomable case of the Dee Dee Blancharde homicide in which her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blancharde and her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, are accused of the murder of a possible “Munchausen mom” in Springfield, Missouri, on or about June 9. 2015. Did Dee Dee suffer from MSBP and did the psychological harm inflicted on Gypsy Blancharde drive her, in a fit of anger and resentment, to allegedly kill her own mother in order to reclaim her life?
Here is what we think we know. In 2001, the Daily Comet, a newspaper in Thibodaux, Louisiana, did a feature story on Gypsy Blancharde. Dee Dee Blancharde (the spelling of the last name appeared to be Blanchard during their time in Louisiana) supplied the Daily Comet with this information about their life in 2001. Gypsy, thought to be born in 1992 would have been approximately 9 years old at the time of this story, thus all the related information to the newspaper was through Dee Dee, who had full custody and control of Gypsy.
“Dee Dee told the Courier and Daily Comet in 2001 that her daughter often stayed at Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House in New Orleans. Gypsy spent the weekend with the cast of “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” during a fan convention and served as honorary queen for the Krewe of Mid-City parade in New Orleans. Local donation drives were also in progress.” This is a direct quote from the online edition of the Daily Comet, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. Comet staff writer Bridget Mire included this quote in her update piece dated June 17, 2015.
This suggests Dee Dee further directed the narrative in which Gypsy was a child with serious afflictions, and benefited from the moral and financial support of charitable organizations and individuals. In no way could a 9-year-old have orchestrated these scenarios.
Clauddinnea (Dee Dee) Blancharde and Gypsy moved to Missouri in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Everyone they came in contact was misled by the extent of Gypsy’s purported medical ailments. Dee Dee was able to secure housing, and solicited funds from private and charitable sources to meet their living expenses. As Gypsy reached adulthood, she appeared to play the role of invalid so carefully crafted by her mother over the years. If Gypsy allowed this to continue, she would have served a life sentence as an invalid! On or about June 9, 2015, Gypsy Blancharde and Nicholas Godejohn allegedly rewrote the script by murdering her mother. Gypsy traded a life of public confinement in a wheel chair to possibly a life of prison incarceration.
The couple now face their day in court, and must be accorded their presumption of innocence unless proven guilty in a court of law.
On all levels this is a tragedy involving the possible mental illness of a victim, and the subsequent victimization of the alleged perpetrator. We may never know the extent of Dee Dee’s treatment of Gypsy, and how this affected Gypsy’s alleged response. What dreadful irony!
— Hill ’n Holler staff writer J.P.