One Of The Most Bizarre Revelations In Abducted In Plain Sight Isn't The Whole Truth

When Netflix released "Abducted in Plain Sight" in 2019, viewers were disturbed by Jan Broberg's story of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a man whom she and her family trusted (via Vanity Fair). As ABC News explains, Jan Broberg was abducted not once but twice by Robert Berchtold. According to the Independent. Mary Ann and Bob Broberg met Berchtold in the 1970s at a Mormon church in Pocatello, Idaho. Berchtold had a wife, Gail, and five kids. The Brobergs had three daughters. The families quickly bonded and began spending time together. However, Berchtold became especially close to Jan.

Per Refinery29, Berchtold successfully gained the trust of every member of the Broberg family. In "Abducted in Plain Sight" Jan notes (via The Atlantic) "He was like a second father to me." Eventually, Mary Ann and Bob let Berchtold sleep in the same bed as their young daughter. He told the family that he needed to do it for therapeutic reasons and they obliged. In October 1974, Berchtold's obsession with Jan escalated. Berchtold asked her family if he could take the then 12-year-old on a horseback riding trip. The Brobergs agreed but unbeknownst to them, Berchtold was actually taking Jan to Mexico.

Jan Broberg's parents decided not to press charges against Robert Berchtold

According to People, Berchtold drugged Jan and drove her to Mexico in a motorhome. Refinery29 writes that during the drive, Jan woke up to a recording that stated that she had been chosen to save an alien race. She would only be able to accomplish this by having a child with Berchtold before the age of 16. If not, her family would suffer or die. Jan agreed to the "mission." For the next month, she was sexually assaulted by Berchtold. The Atlantic notes that the FBI eventually got involved in Jan Broberg's disappearance.

The Independent states that Berchtold and Jan were found by the FBI in Mexico. Berchtold had actually married the 12-year-old girl. However, when Jan was reunited with her parents, she insisted that Berchtold had not molested her. Despite this, the FBI charged Berchtold with kidnapping (via Refinery29). Entertainment Tonight writes that this is when Berchtold's wife Gail became involved.

Per ABC News, Berchtold and Bob Broberg had a sexual encounter before this kidnapping. Gail was aware of this and told the Brobergs that unless they dropped the charges, their "dirty laundry" would come to light. Backed into a corner, the Brobergs agreed and asked the FBI to drop the charges against Berchtold. Per the Independent, the Brobergs signed an affidavit that stated that the kidnapping situation was all a big misunderstanding; Berchtold did nothing wrong and did not keep Jan against her will.

Mary Ann and Bob Broberg regretted their decision

Entertainment Tonight writes that the affidavit was later discussed in "Abducted in Plain Sight." However, Jan told Entertainment Tonight that her parents took back this decision soon after. She stated "They didn't forgive him. The affidavits that they signed, they retracted four days later. That's not in the documentary."

The Atlantic reports that regardless of the Brobergs' affidavit and retraction, Berchtold was sentenced to five years in prison, yet he served only 10 days. According to Refinery29, Berchtold later had an affair with Mary Ann and continued his sexual relationship with Jan, whom he kidnapped again in 1976.

It wasn't until she was 16 that she realized she had been manipulated by Berchtold into believing that she was a part of an alien "mission." In 2019, Skye Borgman, director of "Abducted in Plain Sight" told Vanity Fair that she was unaware of Bob's relationship with Berchtold until she began doing research for the film. Bob later told her what had transpired between them. Borgman stated, "I think Bob realized that it was a critical element to the story, and how (Berchtold) was able to get into their family this way so seamlessly."

Now, Jan is a producer on"A Friend of the Family," a Peacock series based on her kidnappings. She told Variety that shooting the scenes where her father engages in a sexual act with Berchtold was especially difficult as she knows her parents were victims as well. She previously tweeted that her parents were groomed and manipulated just like her.