If you haven’t already seen Abducted in Plain Sight, you’ve definitely seen *that* meme.
The Netflix documentary released on the streaming site in January, follows the story of the Broberg family falling victim to their (creepy) conman neighbour 45 years ago – and people can’t stop watching it and talking about it.
The twisted tale tells the true story of Jan Berchtold who was 12 at the time, being kidnapped by her family-friend next door neighbour, Robert “B” Berchtold, when he offered to take her horse riding one afternoon – and she didn’t return for five days.
Now that’s a Netflix show in itself right? You know nothing yet…
During the alleged kidnap of their daughter, the Broberg family don’t call the police as a favour to B’s wife as the two families had formed a close relationship since the Berchtolds moved in, and B had become like a second father to Jan and her sisters.
Despite the fact you’re already sat reading this thinking ‘WTF BROBERGS?’, it happens again. The daughter, somehow, gets kidnapped, again. But we’ll get onto that.
Jan also went on vacation with the Berchtolds in June 1973 and recalls waking up, (B apparently drugged her on numerous occasions, and fooled her into thinking it was allergy medication), and seeing a naked Berchtold standing by the bed.
By the time Jan went missing for the second time, they managed to stay off the radar for 35 days. During this time, B brainwashed Jan into thinking that she was half-alien, and that she needed to save a planet from destruction by marrying him. He also raped her, and as part of his masterplan, instructed her that if she told anybody her father would be killed, her sister would go blind, and her other sister, Susan, would be taken away from the family.
In November of 1974, B called his brother, Joe Berchtold, and asked him to contact the Brobergs to get their permission for B to marry Jan, because they had been married in Mexico (where the federal age of consent is 12), but their relationship wouldn’t be considered legal back in Idaho.
Yet despite all of this, this wasn’t the Brobergs’ first experience with B Berchtold, as he’d actually previously had affairs with BOTH parents. If you know the meme we’re talking about here, you’re probably also trying to hide a smirk right now. If you’ve managed to avoid it (do you live in a cave?) we’ve attached it below. No caption needed.
Yep, this story is pretty wild.
While the documentary frustrated many viewers, Jan Broberg is confident in saying her parents were also taken advantage of. She spoke of the “grooming” techniques Berchtold used to get closer to Broberg, including seducing her parents.
In response to those who have asked for more, she says “maybe there will be an opportunity to do that. But at least we can talk about it. We can look at, how does that start? How does that grooming begin? How does the manipulator get you from point A, to being their best friend, to kidnapping and abusing your daughter. And then how do you not know – or see it even, still?”
“But that conversation has started.”
It has to be seen to be believed. Here are some other gripping true crime documentaries to watch on Netflix right now…