When the documentary Abducted in Plain Sight hit Netflix in January 2019, it quickly became a hot topic of conversation on the internet, news programs, and anywhere people congregated. The fact that Jan Broberg was taken twice as a child by the same man, Robert Berchtold, in the 1970s, and that her parents, Bob and Mary Ann, also had extramarital relationships with her abductor, was only the beginning of the twists and turns this story would take.
While some may think there is nothing else left to tell about the Broberg or Berchtold families, a four-episode podcast deep dive called Obsessed With: Abducted in Plain Sight hosted by director Skye Borgman and True Crime Obsessed's Patrick Hinds was released on March 2, 2020, and proved that assumption wrong. Borgman reinterviews Jan a year after the documentary premiered, and Hinds questions the director about scenes she left out of the film. The pair introduces and discusses never-before-told facts about Abducted in Plain Sight.
- Photo: Top Knot Films
Mary Ann Broberg Felt Like She Was Given A Warning That Robert Berchtold Was Going To Take Jan Broberg
In "Episode 2: The Kidnapper," it's revealed that at some point prior to Jan Broberg's first kidnapping, Robert Berchtold asked Mary Ann Broberg what she would do if he stole her daughter and took her to an unknown location. Mary Ann replied saying that Berchtold would never do that and she would always know where Jan was. This prompted him to say he was just joking, adding, "I don't want Jan. I want you."
Upon later reflection, Mary Ann believed Berchtold's question was a warning about his plans that she missed due to his manipulation.
Berchtold Tried To Adopt A Little Girl From Mexico But Was Stopped
Skye Borgman reveals in "Episode 2" that prior to taking off with Jan on October 17, 1974, Berchtold corresponded with families in Mexico who were looking for an American to adopt their daughter for a better life in the United States. His wife, Gail Berchtold, knew about Berchtold's quest to adopt a young daughter, though the pair already had five children together.
According to a recording Berchtold made, he traveled to Mexico where he lined up the available little girls, touching their chins and faces one by one until he decided on two. Both had fair features and blue eyes, prompting him to note they were "the kind of little girl I could love."
Instead, Berchtold accepted a young girl named Rosa Maria, providing the broker of the adoption with letters of recommendation from community members back home in Pocatello, ID, to increase his chances of being approved as an adoptive father. A border patrol officer denied Berchtold entrance back into the US with Rosa Maria in tow, returning her to her family.
- Photo: Top Knot Films
Berchtold Wrote ‘A Season in the Sun’ About His Time In Mexico With Jan, And It Was Never Published
On October 17, 1974, Berchtold took 12-year-old Jan and made his way to Mexico with her, brainwashing and marrying her. That time seemingly held a special place in his mind, as he supposedly wrote a short manuscript or book about the roughly one-month trip the pair spent in Mexico, calling it A Season in the Sun.
The text came to light when Jan and her mother, Mary Ann, wrote their own book in 2003. Enraged by the exposure of his long-term harassment of the Broberg family - and Jan especially - Berchtold demanded they stop their release or he would make his book public.
In "Episode 2" Jan read an excerpt from the text that described an alleged encounter between Berchtold and Mary Ann. Berchtold found the situation sickening and calmed himself with assurances that "this is the price you have to pay to be with your Dolly (Jan)."
Mary Ann Confronted Berchtold With A Gun After The Second Kidnapping
During Jan's second kidnapping, the FBI became involved and everyone knew Berchtold was the culprit, but no one had evidence to detain him. Berchtold made a habit of calling the Brobergs to plead innocence and attempt to lead them in different directions. He eventually asked Mary Ann to meet him alone so he could share information about Jan's location with her.
In "Episode 3: The Most Divisive Parents on the Planet," Mary Ann recalled what happened when she sought advice from the FBI agent on the case who had told her to take protection if she was going to meet Berchtold. The agent provided her with a gun and made sure she knew how to use it. At one point during their meeting, Mary Ann almost pulled the arm on Berchtold when he leaned too closely to her in his car, but she refrained.