SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A young Missouri woman police initially described as disabled is now facing charges in her mother's murder amid allegations that the family defrauded friends and neighbors for years.
Gypsy Blancharde was arrested Monday along with her boyfriend in Wisconsin, more than 500 miles away from the family's Springfield, Mo. home. She and boyfriend Nicholas Paul Godejohn are facing first-degree murder charges after Gypsy's mother, Clauddinnea "Dee Dee" Blancharde, 48, was found stabbed to death in her bed, according to a probable cause statement.
The woman was discovered dead and Gypsy was reported missing early Monday after several disturbing Facebook messages were posted on Dee Dee Blancharde's account, prompting friends to call police. Police now say Gypsy posted those messages from her boyfriend's home in Wisconsin, leading officials there.
Gypsy, who neighbors reportedly believed was confined to a wheelchair because of muscular dystrophy, "can walk without assistance or wheelchair and she can do that very well," Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott said at a news conference Tuesday.
He said police have unearthed the "appearance of a long financial fraud scheme along with this tragic event," and cautioned the public against donating to the family, which he told CBS affiliate KOLR had a history of soliciting donations from the public online.
"Things are not always as they appear," Arnott said.
He also said police don't know whether the family are Hurricane Katrina victims, as they have reportedly said. KOLR reports Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter relocated to the Ozarks after the 2005 storm that devastated New Orleans, eventually moving into a house built by Habitat for Humanity.
"We really don't know the true background of this family," Arnott said. "....This is a tragic event surrounded by mystery and public deception."
According to the Greene County Sheriff's Office probable cause statement, Gypsy Blancharde and Nicholas Godejohn were arrested in Wisconsin Monday after a brief standoff. Godejohn, 26, admitted to police that he traveled to Springfield to visit Gypsy and killed her mother at her request on June 9, the statement says.
"He asked her at one point if she was sure she wanted him to kill Clauddinnea and Gypsy said yes," the statement read.
According to police, Godejohn admitted approaching Dee Dee Blancharde while she was asleep, holding her down and stabbing her several times in the back. The woman was reportedly found with multiple stab wounds to her back and a "gaping laceration" to the back of her neck.
The statement alleges that Gypsy told police she was at home while her boyfriend stabbed her mother. She allegedly admitted knowing that the stabbing would occur, but said she didn't do anything to stop it or contact authorities. She admitted to helping Godejohn clean up his blood with baby wipes after he told her he cut his finger on the knife, police allege.
Godejohn reportedly told authorities Gypsy gave him the knife, and he mailed it to his home address in Wisconsin so he wouldn't get caught with it. The two allegedly took several thousand dollars in cash from a safe inside Dee Dee Blancharde's bedroom after the killing.
He reportedly told police he knew his actions were wrong, but he committed the murder because Gypsy asked him to.
According to KOLR, the couple, who initially met online, stayed in Springfield for several days after the murder before traveling to Wisconsin by bus. While there, police say Gypsy told them she posted the disturbing Facebook posts, including one that read, "The B---h is dead!"so law enforcement would find her mother's body quicker.
The post was a "huge clue" for investigators, Arnott told KOLR.
Arnott said Gypsy Blancharde reportedly uses several dates of birth on public records, indicating she is anywhere from 19 to 23 years old. Investigators are working to determine her true age, he said.
Arnott told the station there are indications Gypsy may have had several personas online with at least one other Facebook account.
Both defendants are in custody in Wisconsin and are expected to be extradited to Missouri. A judge posted bond at $1 million each.
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