COURTESY OF GREENE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
In June 2015, the boy Gypsy Rose Blanchard met on a Christian dating site, Nicholas Godejohn, stabbed her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, to death.
For years Dee Dee had tricked their family and friends into thinking Gypsy Rose was afflicted with leukemia and muscular dystrophy, among a long list of other ailments. She paraded her daughter around in a wheelchair even though she could walk, and insisted she undergo unnecessary surgeries. Dee Dee most likely had Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a condition where a caregiver fabricates health problems for their charges, with the intent to gain sympathy and attention.
After learning of her mother’s lies, Gypsy conspired to have her murdered, with help from her now ex-boyfriend. She’s currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for the crime, which was the inspiration for Hulu’s The Act, starring Joey King as Gypsy Rose and Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee.
Since The Act aired, a petition on Change.org, a for-profit site, called “Free Gypsy Rose Blanchard” has collected over 68,000 signatures.
The petition calls for “a shorter sentence, perhaps relocation to a mental facility where she can get the better help she needs. Gypsy has a loving family and community waiting, supporting her every step of the way to freedom.”
The owner of the petition claims to be Gypsy Rose’s father, Rod Blanchard, who says that he too “was lead [sic] to believe Gypsy was sick her whole life.”
“She calls home 3–4 times a week and spends hours on the phone with her amazing step mother, my wife Kristy,” the petition reads. “She has a younger brother Dylan 22 and sister Mia 16. She has suffered long enough. Please help her come home.”
According to Newsweek, Gypsy Rose is eligible for parole in 2024, when she would be 32 years old.
“She appears completely healthy and in good spirits, although we don’t know if there were any long term physical effects from the abuse,” according to the petition. “We all have failed Gypsy, her mother, the doctors, the police, and myself. Any one of us could have done more to free her from hell with her mother. She never had a chance, she was brainwashed, threatened. Living in fearful captivity in a child’s body her entire life, she never got to blossom into the beautiful young woman she deserves to be. How is this any different than a wife snapping and killing her abusive husband? Why? Because she planned it? She believed this was her only escape.. that was her reality. Watch the documentary, watch her interview.”