The Missouri woman convicted of killing her mom — who abused her by portraying her as wheelchair-bound and terminally ill — says in a new interview that when she once tried to run away, her mom “physically chained me to the bed.”
Gypsy Rose Blanchard, now serving 10 years in prison for second degree murder in her mother’s 2015 stabbing death, tells ABC News correspondent Amy Robach on 20/20 that she never considered walking out of her wheelchair in public to expose the fraud perpetuated by her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, who concocted the lie to draw attention to herself.
“I honestly didn’t think about that,” Blanchard says in an exclusive clip from the 20/20 interview, shown above. “I was always so afraid of her — afraid of the consequences after.” (The 20/20 interview airs Friday at 10 p.m. ET.)
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Before Dee Dee, 48, was found in a pool of blood in the pair’s Springfield, Missouri, home, the community had accepted what she told others about her daughter: that Gypsy Rose was a terminally ill teen with the mind of a 7-year-old who suffered from muscular dystrophy, leukemia and other ailments.
The two became well-known locally after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina and moving to Springfield, where Dee Dee’s con led to public appearances for her daughter, visits with celebrities, a Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World, and a new house provided to the pair by Habitat for Humanity.
But after Dee Dee was found dead and Gypsy Rose went missing, authorities went looking for the teen — and a day later found her 600 miles away in Wisconsin. They also discovered she was then a 23-year-old adult able to walk on her own who allegedly had enlisted her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, then 26, to help plot her mother’s murder.
Experts say Gypsy Rose was the victim of Munchausen by proxy, a rare form of abuse in which a guardian exaggerates or induces illness in a child to gain attention and sympathy for his or herself.
Godejohn, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and is awaiting trial, tells 20/20 that Gypsy Rose was the mastermind behind the killing, after Dee Dee ordered her daughter to stay away from him.
Gypsy Rose says that her mother was “very protective.”
“You think she protected you?” Robach asks.
“No, not in — in certain ways, yes, in other ways, no,” Gypsy Rose says. “I think that she was very sick in her mind. For a long time I believed, like, we were best friends, and when I was younger she was my best friend. … other than my stuffed animals. And so I thought that she was a great mother. No complaints, we got along so perfect. I saw her as an angel that can do no wrong.”
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Their relationship turned confrontational as Gypsy Rose grew older and started to think about life outside their home.
When Dee Dee became upset with her, the pair would get “into an argument that would last a couple of days,” Gypsy Rose says. “Or it could be something where she wouldn’t feed me for two days or so.”
In 2011, those arguments turned physical, with Dee Dee using a coat hangar to strike her, she says. Gypsy Rose once ran away but Dee Dee found her hours later.
“She physically chained me to the bed, and put bells on the doors, and told anybody that I probably would have trusted that I was going through a phase, and to tell her if I was doing anything behind her back.”
Gypsy Rose was sentenced in July 2015, to a prison term that she has said she believes is too harsh, given the conditions she was made to endure under Dee Dee’s control..
The 20/20 interview airs Friday at 10 p.m. ET.
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