Content Warning: This piece contains slight details of sexual abuse. Abducted In Plain Sight is easily one of the most disturbing, gut-wrenching true crime documentaries out there. Period. The doc, which came out in 2017 but is gaining steam since it appeared on Netflix, tells the devastating story of a young girl's childhood, during which a trusted family friend kidnapped, manipulated, and raped her, all while her parents stood idly by. Luckily, that girl, Jan Broberg, is doing much better now.
Throughout the documentary, Broberg (who now goes by Jan Broberg Felt) explains how the man, Robert "B" Berchtold, abducted her twice in the 1970s (once when she was 12 and again when she was 14) and brainwashed her to believe that she was part of a top-secret alien mission which required her to carry his child. If they didn't carry out the mission, Berchtold said, the entire alien population, as well as she and members of her family, would be killed. For years, she believed her abuser and did everything she could — ran away, distanced herself emotionally from her family, and defended Berchtold to the authorities — to keep him happy. It wasn't until she was older that she realized she'd been emotionally and sexually abused for years and decided to take action against predators — and to take back control of her own life.
In 2003, Broberg and her mother, Mary Ann (who has been slammed by the public in recent days), published the book, Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story, in hopes that they could warn parents about sexual predators. The two women also shared their life stories during public speaking tours. Unfortunately, the media attention they received brought Berchtold back into their lives, and he tried to enter some of their events. Broberg wasn't about to let him intimidate her any longer and, after receiving a lifetime restraining order, decided to more aggressively pursue her very public passion: acting.
Though Broberg started acting in TV movies in the '90s, her career didn't really pick up until the early 2000s when she landed a role in the WB series Everwood. Since then, she's had roles in films like Maniac, Iron Man 3, Haunt, and Behind You.
But she isn't limiting her passion to the screen. Broberg has also devoted a lot of her time to the performing arts. Broberg served as the Executive Director of the St. George Musical Theater in Utah between 2003 and 2007. After, she spent more time in Los Angeles, where she worked in live theaters while juggling her on-screen acting career. Now, she works as the Executive Director at Kayenta Arts Foundation in Ivins, Utah, where she oversees fundraising and public relations, while also getting to share her love of the arts with her community.
Despite everything she went through, Broberg found the strength and the courage to pursue her passions and live her life on her terms. And that is the biggest "F you" to Berchtold of all.
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).