On June 14, 2015, sheriff’s deputies in Greene County, Missouri, United States, found the body of Clauddine "Dee Dee" Blanchard (née Pitre; born May 3, 1967, in Chackbay, Louisiana) facedown in the bedroom of her house just outside Springfield, lying on the bed in a pool of blood from stab wounds inflicted several days earlier. There was no sign of her daughter, Gypsy Rose, who, according to Blanchard, suffered from chronic conditions including leukemia, asthma, and muscular dystrophy, and had the "mental capacity of a 7-year-old due to brain damage" she had suffered as a result of her premature birth.
After reading troubling Facebook posts earlier in the evening, concerned neighbors notified the police, reporting that Dee Dee might have fallen victim to foul play and that Gypsy Rose, whose wheelchair and medications were still in the house, might have been abducted. The following day, police found Gypsy Rose in Wisconsin, where she had traveled with her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, whom she had met online. When investigators announced that she was actually an adult, and was not suffering from any of the physical and mental health issues which her mother claimed she had, public outrage over the possible abduction of a severely disabled girl gave way to shock and some sympathy for Gypsy Rose.
Further investigations found that some of the doctors who had examined Gypsy Rose had found no evidence of the claimed disorders. One physician suspected that Dee Dee suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder that causes a parent or other caretaker to exaggerate, fabricate, or induce illness in a person under their care to obtain sympathy or attention. Dee Dee had slightly changed her name after her family, who suspected she had poisoned her stepmother, confronted her about how she treated Gypsy Rose. Nonetheless, many people accepted her situation as true, and the two benefited from the efforts of charities such as Children’s Mercy Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.