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OPINION: Gypsy Rose Blanchard: Is she to blame?

Hannah Bulgrin
Joey King depicts Gypsy Rose Blanchard in Hulu’s original series “The Act.”

In June 2015, Dee Dee Blanchard was found stabbed to death in her home. The two responsible were none other than her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Nicholas Godejohn, Gypsy’s boyfriend.

Although this murder was already gruesome enough to make headlines, it also dominated national news for years due to the confusing and shocking background details of the case. 

Dee Dee had convinced the public and multiple health professionals for years that her daughter Gypsy was severely handicapped. She utilized this storyline in order to get money and other benefits from the government and amusement parks like Disney World. She was even able to get a house for free from Habitat for Humanity. 

During this time, Dee Dee treated Gypsy like someone with disabilities inside and outside of the house. She would blend her food, give her placebo pills and do things that severely impeded Gypsy’s quality of life. Dee Dee also had harsh punishments for Gypsy including, but not limited to confinement to her bed and limiting her contact with the outside world.

Due to this abusive behavior, many blamed Dee Dee for her fate when the story first went mainstream. And while it is true that this treatment of children is by no means acceptable, I believe Dee Dee needed severe psychological help and did not deserve death. Her symptoms matched those of someone suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is a syndrome that causes someone to fabricate illnesses about themselves or their loved ones.

For me, it’s more astonishing that this behavior went on for so long without anyone reporting it. 

Many people close to Dee Dee grew suspicious but did not report her to the correct authorities. Dee Dee’s family began to question her on Gypsy’s need for a wheelchair, but they moved to Mississippi before anyone had the chance to unmask Dee Dee’s lies.

Once in Mississippi, Gypsy saw a neurologist who suspected she was in fact not ill but never reported it because he believed there was not enough evidence.

Dee Dee’s secrecy, along with the ignorance of those around her, led Gypsy to continuously be abused and mistreated by her mother physically and psychologically. Feeling alone and with no other option Gypsy convinced her boyfriend to murder her mother when it could have been avoided if those around her spoke up. 

There is still much confusion about what Gypsy actually went through, but if you would like to read up on the case I suggest Sara Kettler’s, “The Story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Her Mother.” Gypsy’s release date is set to be Dec. 28, 2023 and I hope she will have much to say now in order to make up for all those years of her voice being silenced.

Hannah Bulgrin is an opinion writer. Contact her at [email protected].

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