The murder of Clauddinnea “Dee Dee’ Blancharde may be much more complicated than it first appeared.
"It's a shocker, for sure," Bobby Pitre, Dee Dee’s nephew, told NBC affiliate KSDK. "But at the same time, I feel like it was just a ticking time bomb."
On Tuesday, Dee Dee’s daughter, Gypsy Blancharde, 23, and her boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn, 26, were arrested and charged with first-degree murder in her death. According to police, friends became concerned Sunday when a Facebook post made on a joint account for Gypsy and Dee Dee took credit for murdering Dee Dee.
Godejohn reportedly told police he went to Dee Dee and Gypsy’s Springfield, Missouri home last week and stabbed the 48-year-old woman to death at the request of his girlfriend Gypsy, who hid in the bathroom during the murder. The two then fled to Wisconsin before they were taken into custody on Monday.
However, the case may be more complicated than it first appeared.
According to Pitre, Dee Dee made Gypsy pretend that she had muscular dystrophy, made her take seizure medication that made her teeth fall out, and even shaved the girl’s head so she looked like she had leukemia.
"It was basically all a fraud," Pitre told KSDK. "I was so disgusted with the woman. I could not believe what she was doing."
Pitre said that when family members confronted Dee Dee nearly 15 years ago about what was going on, the mother stopped communication with her family. Pitre added that he has heard from other relatives that Gypsy attempted to run away from her mother on numerous occasions over the years but was unsuccessful.
"Dee Dee would keep her as close as she possibly could," Pitre said. "I think that's how Dee Dee wanted it. I don't think she ever wanted her to leave."
Gypsy was homeschooled, and neighbors reportedly believed the girl was disabled. The mother and daughter told people their home in Louisiana was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, a claim police have been unable to confirm, and they had moved into a home built by Habitat for Humanity.
But Greene County Sherrif Jim Amott said Tuesday that the pair was involved in a long running scheme, and received financial donations under false pretenses. Officials are also unsure of Gypsy’s exact age, with initial reports saying the girl was 19 but Armott says she could be as old as 23.
"We really don't know the true background of this family," Arnott said at a press conference Tuesday. "This is a tragic, tragic event surrounded by mystery and public deception."
Pitre ended his interview with KSDK by saying that although he was very young the last time he saw the mother and daughter, he wished he could have done more to help.
“She took Gypsy and it seemed like she almost imprisoned her," Pitre said. "Maybe I could have done more to get Gypsy out of there, but I had no idea how to do it."
Both defendants are in custody in Wisconsin and will soon be extradited to Missouri, according to Arnott. Their bonds have been set at $1 million.
To get the latest on this story as it develops, you can visit NBC affiliate KSDK's website.