"She’s 27 years old, she deserves to be in love and she deserves to have somebody who cares about her," family friend Fancy Macelli tells PEOPLE
Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the Missouri woman who murdered her mother after being forced by her for years to portray herself as terminally ill, is engaged.
Earlier this year, the 27-year-old quietly announced to family and friends that she and her boyfriend are getting married, family friend Fancy Macelli tells PEOPLE.
“They are very happy,” Macelli says. “You can hear excitement in her voice.”
The couple has known each other for a year and a half and started dating after meeting as pen pals while Blanchard was behind bars. Macelli, citing Blancard’s wishes, did not reveal the fiancé’s name.
Blanchard is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the June 2015 stabbing death of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard.
Blanchard had her mother killed with the help of her then-boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, who was convicted of first-degree murder and is now in prison for life without parole. Blanchard told authorities she had Godejohn kill Dee Dee to escape her life of abuse.
Macelli says Blanchard’s fiancé first wrote her after watching the HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest.
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Although Blanchard’s family has not met her fiancé yet — they plan to meet next month — they have spoken to him on the phone and through online messaging. Macelli says they approve of the engagement and have already spoken to Blanchard about the long road ahead for them.
“[This relationship] is a good thing for her,” Macelli says. “And whether it ends up being that way in the end no one knows, but for her right now it’s a very positive and happy time.”
At the moment, the couple has decided to wait to get married until Blanchard is released, Macelli says.
A since-deleted photo posted on Instagram by Blanchard’s stepmother, Kristy, shows her wearing a band on her ring finger.
Experts have said that Blanchard was the victim of Munchausen by proxy, a rare form of abuse in which a guardian — in this case Blanchard’s mother — exaggerates or induces illness in a child for attention and sympathy.
Macelli describes Blanchard’s previous relationship with Godejohn as unhealthy and an act of “desperation.” She says Blanchard’s current relationship is one of mutual love and respect.
“She’s 27 years old, she deserves to be in love and she deserves to have somebody who cares about her,” Macelli says. “He’s just there for her.
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.