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Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Murder case

Mommy Dead and Dearest: The bizarre tale of a deadly mother-daughter relationship

Gypsy’s mother raised her to believe she suffered from leukemia, muscular dystrophy and an array of other conditions.

HBODocs / YouTube

THINGS ARE NOT always as they appear, especially in the case of Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard. From child abuse and mental illness to secrecy and lies, a new HBO documentary sheds light on the horrific mother-daughter relationship.

HBO Documentary Films will air producer-director Erin Lee Carr’s new true-crime documentary ‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ on Monday night, which chronicles the 2014 Missouri murder case involving Dee Dee and Gypsy.

Dee Dee Blanchard was found stabbed to death in her bed on 13 June 2014, after police were alerted by Facebook posts bragging about the murder, written by her daughter, Gypsy Rose, who was listed as missing at the time.

Gypsy was soon tracked down, along with her 25-year-old boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn and the pair were charged with first-degree murder. The documentary tells the tale of the mind-boggling details that then began to arise.

It soon became obvious that Gypsy wasn’t the only criminal in the family. The old saying ‘a lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies’ rang startlingly true.

Dee Dee, who suffers from Munchausen syndrome (someone who fabricates and/or triggers medical problems in another to gain attention), moved from Louisiana when petty crimes and debts become too much to handle.

While Gypsy was born with a chromosome disorder that hindered normal development, no one but Dee Dee was aware she lived a life of false disability in a bid to receive sympathy and donations from her supportive Midwestern community.

mommy-dead-and-dearest-1024 HBO HBO

Gypsy only knew that one of her many illnesses was in fact a lie – her widely believed below-the-waist paralysis. Dee Dee fed Gypsy a regime of medications which created symptoms of the conditions that herself and doctors were led to believe she had.

23 years old at the time of the murder, Gypsy’s high-pitched voice and attire would lead any stranger to believe that she was just a child – something that Gypsy was also led to believe.

Among all the deception and lies, the heavily monitored Gypsy somehow managed to begin a secret relationship online with her boyfriend Godejohn.

Following months of planning, Gypsy and her boyfriend plotted the murder of Dee Dee.

A violent post hinting at the death appeared on Dee Dee’s Facebook shortly after the crime took place: “That bitch is dead!”.

The post was noticed immediately and commented on by friends and neighbours concerned about what it meant. A family friend tried calling the home to no avail and when there was no answer her husband drove over to the house.

After noticing Dee Dee’s car in the driveway but received no answer to their knocking, they called the police. That evening Dee Dee was found dead in her bed.

The IP address for the Facebook post was tracked down to Godejohn’s home and following a brief standoff Gypsy was surrendered.

FOX 5 KRBK / YouTube

Although the question of whether Gypsy actually aided in the killing is still debated, one thing is certain. Dee Dee was the master manipulator and failed to get her daughter the help she needed before it was too late.

Erin Lee Carr made her name as a provocative documentary filmmaker with her 2015 film ‘Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop’, which explores the case of a New York police officer who was convicted of conspiring to kidnap a young woman.

‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ airs on US station HBO tomorrow night at 10:00pm EST. The channel’s shows often appear on Irish TV.

The documentary has been hailed a success among critics, earning a 8.4/10 rating from IMDB.

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