Content warning: mentions kidnap, paedophilia and sexual abuse
So many crime and abduction documentaries follow a predictable pattern, but Abducted in Plain Sight takes an unexpected turn. There were so many different moments where the crimes should have been stopped, yet due to unusually naïve parents, they weren’t.
In short, the documentary describes the abduction of Jan Broberg by a close family friend and neighbour, Robert (known as ‘B’) Berchtold. What sets this story apart however though was the way the abduction was carried out.
The first step in B’s plan was not to groom Jan, but her parents. He has an affair with both of them in order to try and break apart the family unit whilst gaining some sort of trust from each of them.
This is made more disturbing because when recounting the memories, Jan’s mum smiles at the memories of her sex with Berchtold, her own daughter’s abductor. Although Jan’s father seems more guilt ridden, it appears as though the affair was not a difficult decision for him at the time, although he doesn’t go into much detail.
When Jan is first abducted she wakes up in a motorhome with an intercom box beside her, telling her that she is part alien and in order to save the Earth she must have a child. Hearing this from a documentary defies belief and may encourage viewers to turn off the programme altogether.
However, the way Berchtold executes this lie is seamless. He keeps Jan isolated with only the ‘aliens’ speaking to her, telling her if she can’t complete the mission her sister will be abducted instead. They then tell her that her ‘partner’ who is on the mission with her is in the other room.
Unsurprisingly this ‘partner’ is B, who plays the role of an innocent victim himself, claiming he has been kidnapped too. A great deal of abuse follows before they are finally found by the FBI.By this point, however, Jan believes she is in love with B, with child marriage, paedophilia and many other dark themes weaving together.
What is most interesting and alarming about this programme was that Jan’s parents seemed so naïve and turned a ‘blind eye’ on what was happening to their daughter in order to protect themselves from learning the truth.
They weren’t the only ones though; B’s brother and the Mormon Church were aware of his interest in young girls but nobody took any adequate action.
The whole programme is outrageous and peculiar. Abducted in Plain Sight truly exemplifies that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction.
Image Credit: Sebastian Burgmann via Wikipedia Commons