LAFOURCHE PARISH, LA — Just like everyone else, we can’t get enough of the incredibly bizarre and tragic tale of Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Even after reading all the articles and watching the recent HBO documentary, we still have questions.
Luckily, we had the chance to have an exclusive conversation with Bobby Pitre, Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s cousin and Dee Dee’s nephew, and learn some insider facts and stories that only family would know. Pitre, who is the owner of Southern Sting Tattoo in Larose, Louisiana, has lived down the bayou his whole life and was able to offer a glimpse into what it was like growing up in the orbit of Dee Dee Blanchard.
She stayed close to my grandparents, as far as home-wise. She stayed at home for sure, so she was real baby-fied. My grandfather says he would give her everything she wanted, and he did. That was his baby. My grandmother was always sick, always in the bed, always complaining about being sick and all these things, so I think that Dee Dee maybe saw the way she was getting sympathy, so maybe she just took that to a whole different level.
You’re talking about Dee Dee’s mother?
Yes, yes. My grandmother.
Is there any suspicion that Dee Dee might have contributed to her mother (your grandmother’s) illness in some way?
Yes. Later on you think about it, you’re like, yeah, maybe that totally makes sense. She was not feeding my grandma and she wasn’t bathing her when my grandmother was in the bed sick. I thought that it was diabetes that killed her, because she had got bitten by a brown recluse spider and they had to dig out this wound on her leg, and she wasn’t healing because of her diabetes. It continued to get worse, and I think Dee Dee may have played a role in that somehow.
And Dee Dee was also poisoning your step-grandmother, right?
Yeah, and I think she still suffers today, because she spent months in the hospital. We didn’t know what was happening. She was bleeding internally and all this stuff, her stomach was ruined because she was drinking freaking Roundup. Dee Dee was feeding her [weed control substance] Roundup!
Now how come Dee Dee wasn’t charged or prosecuted for that?
I don’t know. I never found out until later. I found out around the time of Hurricane Katrina, because Dee Dee had got displaced and went to Missouri. I’d hear bits and pieces through Kristy sometimes — Kristy Blanchard, Gypsy’s stepmom.
Did you or anyone in your family ever suspect that Gypsy wasn’t as ill as she seemed to be?
My dad basically called Dee Dee out on the way she was keeping Gypsy down in a wheelchair. That was just at the beginning of the situation, and pretty much from there on she just left and kept on moving farther away from anybody.
Did your dad actually know that Gypsy could walk?
Yeah, we all did. We all did. We’d play; we’d all hang out. I was a lot older than they were, she was the same age as my younger siblings and my younger cousins so they all played together. They jumped around, played around like it was no big deal. When Dee Dee would see Gypsy she would tell her that her legs are going to give her trouble or whatever. She would tell us that Gypsy’s legs were going to collapse and she had to go soak them in the tub.
She was telling Gypsy that her legs were bad because she had muscular dystrophy. I didn’t find out until later on how she kept that going. I didn’t understand. She kept it going by telling her it was going to eventually get worse. That’s how she kept her down in a wheelchair. But we seen her running around, pushing other kids around in the wheelchair. We were like, there’s nothing wrong with this kid, she’s fine. Dee Dee’s over-dramatic. My dad called her out on it.
What about all the other illnesses she claimed that Gypsy had?
That all came up after they were gone. She did say things before about how Gypsy’s eyes are messed up. My dad said one time that he told Dee Dee, “Dee Dee, what kind of glasses you got on her face?” and he said he grabbed them and he looked through them and said it was like kaleidoscopes. Like she was purposely trying to ruin her eyes by making her wear some glasses that were like kaleidoscopes.
I would hear different things about how Gypsy was progressing. In the back of my mind, and I’m even telling Kristy:
“Gypsy’s good. I don’t know what’s up with Dee Dee, but Jesus Christ, I don’t think nothing’s wrong with that kid. She’s just got a bad mom.”
When Gypsy was first born, like you seen in the documentary, how smart she was. She was pointing out where her head was, her fingers, and knowing how old she was, at one year old. Dee Dee could’ve molded that kid into being a really smart kid and that’s what it looked like she was doing at first. Then, some reason, she flips the script and goes completely assbackwards.
I think it was on Facebook, they were talking about, how could this girl kill her mom, oh, it’s awful, all this stuff. I’m like, wait a minute! I had to go in and put my two cents in, because I couldn’t believe what the hell they were saying. I had to let them know where I stood, my point of view, the things that I seen. I went and laid it all out — that girl shouldn’t have even been in a wheelchair. I think she killed her mom because she couldn’t take it no more. I laid it out on that thread and then the whole roof blew off of the thing.
She killed someone who had her prisoner. What would you have done? You would’ve probably did the same thing, that’s how I feel about it. I think also that Dee Dee was just killing Gypsy slow. She wised up and beat her at her own game.
Kristy wasn’t saying anything. She didn’t want to say anything, I don’t think, because I think she was still under that thing where she didn’t want to piss Dee Dee off. I think she wanted to keep the peace always and not say anything to Dee Dee, not overstep her bounds, but I was the opposite. I’ll tell you exactly what I feel, I don’t hold my tongue! I don’t think Dee Dee’s the victim, Gypsy is. Then it started to blow up from there. It got crazy, but that’s why I had to say my piece.
When Gypsy gets out of prison, do you think the family and the community are going to rally around her?
The way her dad talks, he’s going to take care of her. He wants to set her up wherever, however, because he ultimately feels the most guilty. I’m sure I would if I was her father. I’d feel like I totally let you down. Matter of fact, he messaged me a couple days ago — he wants to get a tattoo with angel wings around her portrait or something like that because he totally feels so guilty about it. I can understand where he’s coming from, I have a daughter. I would swim through piranhas and freaking sharks to get to her. He just bought into Dee Dee’s lie. He was in a difficult place, and it led to this.
Well, if he was being told that she had all these issues, and that her mother was willing to take care of her, as a young father he was probably relieved. He trusted Dee Dee to be the caregiver, right?
Yeah. Gypsy couldn’t go to Rod’s house, because she was on all these machines. She had to be hooked up to machines at night, so couldn’t even spend one night over. That’s how Dee Dee got away with that over the years.
So that was a major way of keeping the control, telling Rod that she can’t leave the house.
Yeah. “I can’t take her, there’s no way, she wouldn’t make it through the night. If I take her, she’ll die on me.” That’s the picture that Dee Dee painted for him.
In the HBO documentary, Rod seems to imply that Dee Dee was into witchcraft or black magic. Do you know anything about that?
Yeah, she was into witchcraft when she was younger. Matter of fact, I was into that evil side of things, too, and I think a lot of it came from Dee Dee’s influence, playing the Ouija board and things like that. I think she would tell my cousins that if they didn’t play the Ouija board with her that the devil was going to come and get them.
What? Oh, my God!
She was real manipulative, like things like that. I didn’t care, I’d play the Ouija board just to play. I was drawn to the darkness. That’s just how it was, and I was like that for a long time. I’m still drawn to the darker side of things. I don’t worship the devil, I don’t really believe there is one, but there is good and evil in the world, I know that. That whole religious play was just another one of her ways to freak people out I guess, because she was just a strange character as a kid.
So, you’re basically on Gypsy’s side — you think her actions were justified?
Yeah. I told her, “It wouldn’t have taken me that long to kill that bitch, I would’ve killed her a long time ago before you did.” In the same breath, I can’t say I would’ve in Gypsy’s situation, because her mom was her guardian, so her mom was like her life support in a sense, that’s how she made her feel.
Right and, of course, Gypsy believed that she was sick.
She believed it, yup. She believed without her mom she was completely crippled, and no one was going to wipe her ass.
What are your thoughts on Gypsy’s account of what happened that night of the murder; do you believe her story how it went down?
Yeah. Gypsy was told what to do all her life, that’s what she was brought up to do. Her mom would hold her hand, and when she’d say things out of line, she’d squeeze her hand. My grandmother used to do that too, same thing. I’m like, wow, my grandmother used to do all the time. She was raised to listen to what her mom said: Go here, do this, do that, don’t say a word,
Her relationship with Nicholas Godejohn already involved dominance roleplay….
It was a total roleplay, yup. It was a total roleplay, and she just did what she was told. I wouldn’t have had somebody come kill her for me, I would’ve killed her. I wish that Dee Dee would come back to life right now, so I could kill that bitch as slow as possible.
There’s no question of whose side you’re on.
No, exactly. I’d kill her a slow death. I’d sure like to just to make her suffer.
Maybe I shouldn’t put that in print …
Yeah, you can, it don’t bother me. “Did you say you’d kill her?” “Yes, I did.”
It’s been mentioned that there’s no way that Gypsy hadn’t absorbed some of Dee Dee’s ability to manipulate, even if it was unconsciously. She’d been around it her whole life, she must’ve had some skill in manipulating people.
Yeah, in the opening scene of that documentary when she’s in the interrogation room, that’s not Gypsy. That’s Dee Dee. The way she did it, the sound of her voice, her mannerisms…. Even like how she said, “Wait, wait, wait,” and she had reached out to his hand like she didn’t believe it. I was like, that is Dee Dee! I’ve seen her act like that. I recognized her mannerisms right off top. It gave me chills watching that. It gave me chills. I told my brother, “Look at it, dude, that’s Dee Dee. Watch this — Dee Dee.” Yeah, it’s just crazy.
Do you know if Gypsy’s getting any psychiatric care or access to a counselor in prison?
No. That’s what I had messaged Rod, back and forth we were talking. Actually, Rod came and visit one day and we were talking about how he was trying to get her at least, if nothing else, a phone call because she does get calls. She could get her some psychiatric help over the phone at least to get things started. Because just retraining her brain is gonna take a long time, but it’s little steps that make the big picture. She’s got plenty of time — utilize it wise.
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Main photo: Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mom Dee Dee [Greene County Sheriff’s Office]