Kidnapped in Plain Sight Is Arms Down the Most Unbelievable True Crime Story We've Heard


Kidnapped in Plain Sight captures a case as unusual as its foreboding title suggests, interweaving the horrors of kid abduction with tales of extramarital affairs, aliens, and brainwashed dad and mom. The 2017 true crime documentary now streaming on Netflix shines a lightweight on the kidnapping of Jan Broberg, a younger woman residing in Pocatello, ID, who was twice kidnapped by her neighbor Robert Berchtold (generally known as “B”). Whereas this appears like a basic Forensic Information episode, there’s extra to the story that can actually boggle the thoughts. Broberg’s dad and mom, Mary Ann and Bob, not solely held again from contacting authorities but in addition every had affairs with Berchtold and allowed him to have shut contact with their daughter.

Jan’s story is a disturbing one all through – listed below are the surprising particulars that fashioned the idea of the documentary.

The Kidnappings

A detailed household buddy, Berchtold (pictured under, with Jan) satisfied Jan’s dad and mom to let him take their daughter to go horseback using within the Autumn of 1974 when she was 12. He then drugged and kidnapped her, strapping her to a mattress. Berchtold left an intercom by her bedside to persuade her that she had been taken by aliens and that he wanted to impregnate her to save lots of their alien planet.


Berchtold known as his brother, who known as the Brobergs and advised them his brother was now in Mexico and wished their permission to marry Jan in america. The FBI traced the decision and located them, arresting Berchtold, who solely confronted a 45-day sentence. Berchtold satisfied Jan to not inform anybody in regards to the mission, drugs, or sexual abuse she skilled or else the aliens would harm her household. Her dad and mom had been satisfied she was not raped as a result of a physician mentioned her hymen had not been damaged.

Whereas Berchtold labored at his brother’s automobile dealership, he’d return dwelling to Pocatello and intently contacted Jan by letters and notes. He even took her to a household enjoyable middle that he purchased, the place they continued “the mission” after Mary Ann reluctantly let her daughter go. In 1976, Berchtold kidnapped her once more. Underneath his directions, Jan, then 14, wrote a notice informing her household that she was working away. Berchtold enrolled her in a Catholic boarding faculty in Pasadena, CA, and satisfied the nuns there that he was her father, a CIA agent who’d escaped Lebanon. Authorities tracked him down after three months and took him into custody. His kidnapping costs had been later acquitted because of a declare of “psychological defect.”

The Affairs

Berchtold held shut relationships with Jan’s dad and mom to realize entry to her earlier than and after the primary abduction. Previous to the primary kidnapping, he advised Jan’s dad and mom that he wanted to spend time with their daughter for remedy. With their consent, he repeatedly laid down in mattress subsequent to Jan, taking part in inappropriate tapes and giving her sleeping drugs.

Mary Ann shockingly had a long-term affair with Berchtold after her daughter was kidnapped. He even tried to steer her into getting a divorce after explaining why he took her daughter. This wasn’t the primary time – earlier than the primary kidnapping, in addition they had sexual contact, info he used to blackmail her into signing an affidavit that mentioned he had taken Jan along with her dad and mom’ consent. Her husband, Bob, additionally had not less than one encounter with Berchtold, throughout which he “relieved” his neighbor in “an act of masturbation.”

The Aftermath

Berchtold was convicted as soon as extra for abusing one other younger woman, receiving one yr of jail time. In 2004, he tried to crash one in every of Jan’s public talking occasions, prompting her to get an official restraining order in opposition to him. The next yr, he dedicated suicide by taking coronary heart remedy drugs with alcohol.

Mary Ann wrote a guide known as Stolen Innocence, detailing her encounters with Berchtold. She and Bob remained married till his dying in 2018. Jan, now 56, has labored as a singer and actress after turning to the theater as a artistic outlet. Within the documentary, she voices her story with readability regardless of years of traumatizing abuse whereas her dad and mom, additionally featured, probe for sense of their surprising complicity.

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