​‘Abducted In Plain Sight’: What Happened Next?

Netflix's latest true-crime documentary Abducted In Plain Sight has been labelled as 'jaw-dropping' by viewers and it is clear to see why.

The documentary, available to stream on Netflix, is based on the true story of Jan Broberg who was kidnapped twice by a family friend and became the subject of extreme manipulation and sexual abuse.

After the ordeal, Jan actually became an extremely successful actress starring in Iron Man 3 and has documented her story in a tell-all book.

During 1972 in Idaho, America, the Broberg family became friendly with their neighbour Robert 'B' Berchtold.

Over two years Berchtold manipulated the family and gained their trust so that he could put his plan of abducting and abusing their 12-year-old daughter into action.

The Netflix documentary has been described as 'jaw dropping'. (Credit: Netflix)
The Netflix documentary has been described as 'jaw dropping'. (Credit: Netflix)

During his manipulation, Berchtold became extremely close with the family and groomed the parents as well as their daughter.

Berchtold had an affair with both of Jan's parents, however, not at the same time. In the documentary Jan's mum says: "He gave me a great feeling about myself. I was attracted to him."

During the documentary, Jan's father is obviously extremely distressed about the sexual engagements he had with his daughter's kidnapper.

In the lead up to Berchtold's first abduction of Jan, he convinced her parents to let him sleep in her bed as part of therapy he was receiving after suffering from abuse as a child.

Berchtold spent two years manipulating the family. (Credit: Netflix)
Berchtold spent two years manipulating the family. (Credit: Netflix)

On 17th October 1974, Berchtold abducted Jan for the first time. In an interview on Dr Phil, Jan revealed that she was told she was going horse riding so was given an 'allergy pill'.

She then explained how she woke up in Mexico: "He handed me my allergy pill because I was going to be around horses. After I took the pill, I woke up in the back of a moving motor home and my arms and my legs were strapped to the back of the bed.

"I was drugged. I was in and out of very, very deep sleep. For the next five weeks I was missing. This is when the sexual abuse began."

Berchtold had Jan believing she was an alien, and that she needed to conceive a child with him by her 16th birthday to save the residents of her home planet.

Jan has openly spoke about her experiences. (Credit: Oprah Winfrey Network/Dr Phil)
Jan has openly spoke about her experiences. (Credit: Oprah Winfrey Network/Dr Phil)

Mexican police found Berchtold and Jan, she was taken home and he was jailed for a short amount of time.

Jan's parents never pressed any sexual abuse charges against Berchtold as their daughter said that nothing had happened to her.

Berchtold abducted Jan again in 1976, and secretly enrolled her in a Catholic girls' school in California.

He would visit her on weekends and pose as her father. She was missing for over 100 days this time.

Berchtold kidnapped Jan in 1974 and 1976. (Credit: Netflix)
Berchtold kidnapped Jan in 1974 and 1976. (Credit: Netflix)

Once Jan was found and returned home, Berchtold was arrested and put on trial for kidnapping.

Speaking on Dr Phil about the second abduction, Jan's sister said: "One night, Jan walked out the back door and got in his car and disappeared. I felt terribly alone because my sister was missing.

"My parents were lost in their misery and guilt. I became aware I was not their focus.

"When Jan returned after her second abduction, things were very different. When she got out of the car, walked in the back door, she didn't even say a word and she was just a blank shell.

"I was devastated. My parents enabled her. It impacted Jan as an adult."

Berchtold was then sentenced to 45 days in jail - of which he served 10 - before being released. However, he was given a lifetime restraining order against the Broberg family.

Jan released her story with the book Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story by Mary Ann Broberg in 2003.

After the release of the book, Berchtold denied all claims and told ABC News: "They're trying to make a buck.

Berchtold denied all claims. (Credit: Netflix)
Berchtold denied all claims. (Credit: Netflix)

"My mom got sick when I was a teenager and I had to take care of my little sister. I was very happy at the time, because my stepfather finally liked me and everything was good. Later, I had reverted back to taking care of a little girl."

Before denying the claim, Berchtold turned up at a talk in Utah where Jan was the keynote speaker, breaking the conditions of his restraining order.

He reportedly showed up at the event and threatened a volunteer from Bikers Against Child Abuse with a handgun before driving his van into the volunteer and fleeing the scene.

Berchtold died a year later in 2005.

Speaking about her decision to share her story Jan said: "It's time.

"People are ready to face the music that this is happening to children, and it's by someone they know, not strangers."

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Bethany Gleave

Bethany Gleave is a Freelance Journalist at PRETTY52 and joined the team in 2018. She is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, and started her career at a national press agency, writing breaking and trending news for the national newspapers.

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