It’s already a bizarre story on its own. A young woman and her online lover killed her mother, but you end up feeling bad for the murderers. Now, a film documenting the odd case of Munchausen by proxy syndrome and murder will premiere next month.
Mommy Dead and Dearest premieres on HBO on May 15 at 10 p.m. The film, directed by Erin Lee Carr, explores the complicated case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard.
Dee Dee had Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, which is when someone fakes the illness of another person. The aggressor is usually a parent or caretaker, and can keep up the charade for numerous reasons, including a simple desire for attention. For Gypsy’s entire life, Dee Dee acted as though Gypsy was ill with a mysterious disease that impacted her both mentally and physically. Dee Dee’s overbearing parenting and a barrage of unnecessary medical treatments hindered Gypsy’s life immensely. Gypsy lost her hair and teeth, was forced to remain in a wheelchair even though she was capable of standing and walking, and was limited in her interactions with others. She underwent numerous doctor’s appointments, tests and procedures, almost all of them unnecessary. Dee Dee also told people that Gypsy was mentally impaired and had the mind of a child, even though Gypsy was perfectly on track mentally for someone her age.
When Gypsy was 23 years old, she thought she was 19, as her mother had lied to her about her age for several years. That year, Gypsy and a boyfriend she met online, Nicholas Godejohn, killed her mother and fled after posting a Facebook status declaring, “that bitch is dead.” Both were arrested and charged with murder. Gypsy has said she feels freer in prison than she did under her mother’s care.
Here’s the trailer for this strange, true tale: