The story of Gypsy Rose Blancharde, a victim of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and a convicted killer, has gained international attention and invited speculation from lay people and professionals in the medical community. On the night of June 14, 2015, deputy sheriffs in Greene County, Missouri, found the body of Dee Dee Blanchard face down in the bedroom of her house. She was lying on her bed in a pool of blood from stab wounds that had killed her days earlier. There was no sign of her daughter, Gypsy Rose, who was believed to have suffered from leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy, mental retardation, and other chronic conditions.
The neighbors, who notified the police after reading alarming Facebook posts earlier that evening, suggested Dee Dee may have fallen victim to foul play. They were also fearful that Gypsy Rose, whose wheelchair and medications were still in the house, may have been abducted.
Police found Gypsy Rose the next day in Wisconsin, where she had traveled with a boyfriend she had met online. There was public outrage that someone had taken advantage of this severely disabled girl and killed her mother, until it was revealed that Gypsy was not sick at all but, in fact, a victim of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
Further investigation found that many of the doctors who had examined Gypsy Rose did not find any evidence of the illness. Dee Dee had lied about her daughter’s condition and benefited from charities such as Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Dee Dee had been making her daughter pass herself off as younger, disabled and chronically ill. Throughout her childhood she had been subjecting Gypsy to unnecessary surgery and medication, controlling her as she aged through physical and psychological abuse.
This case brings up many questions about how this happened. How did Dee Dee manipulate doctors and everyone around her to keep Gypsy as her captive and how much can we blame Gypsy for being willing to kill for her freedom?