Katelyn Chostner, Editor-in-Chief
It’s hard to imagine being abducted once. It’s almost unheard of to be abducted twice, especially by the same person. And all the while, your parents stand by idly and watch it happen.
“Abducted in Plain Sight” shows the early life of Jan Broberg, a 12-year-old in Idaho during 1974. Jan grew up with two sisters and parents Mary Ann and Bob Broberg.
*This article includes spoilers.
The docudrama follows Jan and the manipulation and sexual abuse she experienced under the sexual predator Robert “B” Berchtold.
After moving in next-door, Berchtold quickly became close friends with the Broberg’s and took a special interest in Jan. This disgusting interest led Berchtold to brainwash and manipulate Jan’s parents. He sexually seduced both Mary Ann and Bob on several separate occasions and had them under his thumb; it led to the first kidnapping of Jan.
One day, Berchtold told Mary Ann he wanted to take Jan to a horseback riding lesson and he didn’t come back for several days. Jan’s mother decided not to call the cops at the persuasion of Berchtold’s wife.
This part of the docudrama exposed the parents for the manipulation they experienced or careless manners they possessed. Either way, if your child goes missing, the most sensible thing to do is call the police. Finally, Berchtold comes back with Jan and the FBI arrests him. While he is out on bail, he has a lawyer draft two affidavits for Jan’s parents. Basically, this affidavit says that they can’t press charges, or he will expose their sexual relations mentioned earlier.
Unfortunately, the parents decide to save their own skin rather than their daughter’s and they sign the form. Now, viewers might assume the parents are going to keep their daughter away from Berchtold, no such luck. Jan’s parents let Berchtold back into her life on many different occasions.
Every parent who has watched this film probably experienced pure hatred toward Berchtold and astonishment toward the parents. Even though this was a time when people like Berchtold were
not known to the general public, there is still a level of discomfort that the parents must have felt. For some reason, the feeling was ignored. Unsurprisingly, Jan eventually gets kidnapped again by Berchtold and this time he takes her to Mexico for a few weeks. After a series of events he blackmails the parents into signing off on their marriage.
Toward the end of the documentary viewers start to see that this is a docudrama based off a book. Who wrote the book? The mother wrote it and somehow convinced the whole family to expose themselves to viewers. The mother persuaded her entire family to expose themselves to viewers. Mary Ann and Bob Broberg somehow made themselves look even worse by creating a film about their gullibility and susceptibility.
This documentary goes from bad, to worse, to unbelievable. While watching the film I was amazed to see the stupidity and self-absorbed nature of the parents. Every time they showed emotion when they talked about Jan, I felt like they were showing guilty tears rather than the anguished sorrow that Jan deserved.
“Abducted in Plain Sight” makes viewers want to throw their remote through their TV. One Google reviewer said, “Seriously how stupid are these parents? Oh, this family friend kidnapped our daughter for 5 days but I’m sure he’s fine……oh he’s a convicted pedophile and part of his therapy is to lay with our daughter every night for 6 months alone……oh wait, he kidnapped her again…. what are we going to do?”
Another reviewer felt for the Brobergs saying, “This movie was a perfect example of how Stockholm syndrome (brain washing) works and is a perfect example of how a psychopath can manipulate people into feeling and doing whatever he wants.”
One thing viewers should take away from this documentary is to be careful who you trust. It is most often the people you least expect.