In January, Netflix released the Abducted In Plain Sight, a documentary so jaw-dropping it’s hard to do justice with a few sentences of description.
The film tells the story of Jan Broberg, who, as a child in the 1970s, was kidnapped — twice — and sexually abused by Robert “B.” Berchtold, a family friend who grew close with her parents simply to have access to her.
Broberg’s Father Called The Police After The First Kidnapping
Though many people have come away from Abducted In Plain Sight wondering how anyone could let anything that befell Broberg happen to their children, Broberg has previously said she considers her parents to be victims of Berchtold, too. On Entertainment Tonight, she said her father called the police the first night she went missing, when she had been on a planned outing with Berchtold and never returned, though they didn’t call the FBI for several days.
“My father called the sheriff’s department that same night when we didn’t show up,” she said.
But at the time, she said, they didn’t suspect she had been kidnapped — they thought she and Berchtold might have been in a car accident.
Berchtold Had A Complicated Justification For Marrying Broberg
The first time Berchtold kidnapped Broberg, he took her to Mexico and married her. Broberg said he managed to justify it to her parents (and convince them he hadn’t abused her) by saying they weren’t allowed to cross the border to come back to the U.S. together without being married.
“He said because we wanted to come home, ‘they would not let me come back across the border if I did not have her married to me. I didn’t want to marry her,’” Broberg said.
Broberg’s Parents Retracted Their Affidavits Agreeing Not To Press Charges Against Berchtold
One of the more shocking aspects of Abducted In Plain Sight is the allegation that, to get closer with Broberg, Berchtold engaged in sexual relationships with both of her parents. Later, Berchtold’s wife allegedly used this information to blackmail them into signing documents stating Broberg hadn’t been taken against her will.
But, according to Broberg, both parents retracted their affidavits days after signing them.
“They didn’t forgive him. The affidavits that they signed, they retracted four days later. That’s not in the documentary,” Broberg said.
Berchtold’s Wife Left Him Before The Second Kidnapping
Berchtold’s wife, Gail, is often referenced in the beginning of Abducted In Plain Sight, but she seems to disappear by the second half of the movie.
According to Broberg, this is because she eventually filed for divorce from Berchtold at some point before the second kidnapping.
“By the second kidnapping she had filed for a divorce,” Broberg said. “She divorced him and took her kids and moved.”
Gail was not featured in the documentary. Broberg told Entertainment Tonight she hasn’t heard from her since the release of Abducted In Plain Sight.
“No word and many, many years have gone by and, you know, can you imagine how awful it would be to discover that this was your dad? I mean, it’s pretty tough, I feel bad for all of them,” she said.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).