Netflix’s chilling true crime documentary actually left a few of its most intense tidbits out. Now, subject Jan Broberg is revealing the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.
Abducted In Plain Sight isn’t just the story of a kidnapped girl. It’s the story of how that teenager was abducted twice by her neighbour and family friend Robert ‘B’ Berchtold, and the circumstances that allowed such a shocking crime to occur on more than one occasion.
This is partly what has made this chilling true crime documentary so popular with so many people since it debuted on Netflix in January.
The story of teen Jan Broberg and her family has captivated audiences because it defies belief. And, in the documentary’s ultimate twist, it turns out that filmmakers left most of the more shocking details out from the finished product.
Jan, who is now 56 and an actress on Criminal Minds and Everwood, has spoken to Entertainment Tonight about the elements of the story that didn’t make it into the final cut.
This includes B’s slow-building coercion of the Brobergs so that, by the time he had kidnapped Jan and taken her to Mexico, no-one would report her missing. While in Mexico, B convinced the then-12-year-old girl that she had to marry him because she was an alien, and if she didn’t have sex with him and conceive a child before she turned 16 both she and her family would be murdered by her alien relatives.
Jan was saved after an FBI investigation located her and B and brought her home, but Jan’s parents Mary Ann and Bob continued to have a relationship with B. This, Jan told Entertainment Tonight, is because of way both she and her family were groomed and manipulated by B.
“It’s not in the documentary, there’s only pieces, you missed all the context,” Jan told Entertainment Tonight. “He’s calling my mum every single day after we’re back,” Jan recalled. “Nobody is thinking he ever abused me still, that’s just not in the realm of possibilities.”
B had an excuse for everything, including his Mexican marriage to Jan. “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,’” Jan recalls B saying. “He had a story for everything.”
Mary Ann and Bob Broberg have received severe criticism online from many who felt they should have done more to protect their daughter from B. In the documentary, Jan’s mother is shown not speaking to the FBI until five days after Jan went missing. (She first called the authorities on Saturday, two days after Jan’s disappearance, but the office was closed and she wasn’t able to speak to anyone.)
But, as Jan has detailed to Entertainment Tonight, her father actually called the police as soon as she went missing with B. “My father called the sheriff’s department that same night when we didn’t show up,” Jan said. Her parents did not believe that she had been kidnapped, though.
At this point, everyone assumed that their disappearance was because of a tragic accident. “They were looking for a car accident,” Jan explained. “They described the car… kidnapping had not even entered anybody’s mind… you’re looking at this person as someone who would never hurt your child.”
The documentary also doesn’t feature testimony from B’s wife Gail or their children. “By the second kidnapping she had filed for a divorce,” Jan said. “She divorced him and took her kids and moved.”
“[Gail’s story is] one of the most interesting perspectives that didn’t get to happen in the documentary,” Jan added. She hasn’t spoken to any of them since the abductions, and they didn’t reconnect with her when the documentary was released. “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?” Jan said. “I mean, it’s pretty tough, I feel bad for all of them.”
In the interview, Jan stressed that the documentary didn’t tell the full story of her abductions, nor did it show her parents in a fair light. She said that, while her parents did sign affidavits stating that they would not prosecute B for kidnapping Jan, they retracted them almost immediately.
“It happened to my whole family,” Broberg has stressed on Twitter. “This man was a master and my parents saved my life. They’re the bravest people I know, willing to try to help the rest of you see what they didn’t. That is the only reason we told our story.”
Abducted In Plain Sight is streaming on Netflix now.
Images: Netflix, Getty, Unsplash