The woman at the center of the disturbing documentary Abducted in Plain Sight has told DailyMailTV she has forgiven her parents for befriending and then being sexually intimate with her kidnapper.
Jan Broberg, 56, of Santa Clara, Utah, says her parents Mary Ann and Robert were also ‘groomed’ by ‘master manipulator’ Robert ‘B’ Berchtold.
Berchtold repeatedly abducted and raped Broberg over a period of four years starting in 1974 when she was just 12 years old.
Both her parents were close to depraved Berchtold and did not report her missing for five days after she was first abducted for fear of upsetting the predator’s wife Gail.
But Broberg, who shares her home with her mother, says blaming them for what happened is unfair and told DailyMailTV that neither were ‘complicit’ in the abuse she suffered.
‘My parents were definitely groomed, they definitely were manipulated,’ she said, ‘My parents were naive, but my parents were not stupid, my parents were not complicit.’
Jan Broberg, the center of Netflix documentary Abducted in Plain Sight, spoke to DailyMailTV in an exclusive interview about her kidnappings by neighbor Robert ‘B’ Berchtold
Jan, the eldest of three girls, told DailyMailTV that she forgives her parents for befriending Berchtold and engaging in sexual relationships with him. The Brobergs are pictured at Christmas after Jan (top right) returned home from Mexico after her first kidnapping
Robert ‘B’ Berchtold, a father-of-five himself, first met the family in 1972 at their Mormon church and was instantly infatuated with Jan. She tells DailyMailTV this picture was taken in 1974 before the first kidnapping and by this time Berchtold ‘was like my second father’
Berchtold used the relationships with the Brobergs as leverage to get to Jan and they did not press charges against him because of it, she says. Jan and Berchtold had an even closer relationship, pictured water skiing together in 1973
Broberg’s mother Mary Ann, now 80, had an eight-month affair with Berchtold after her daughter’s first kidnapping, while her father Robert, who died last November aged 81, admitted he had once masturbated Berchtold in his car.
They also allowed Berchtold to regularly take Broberg out and let him sleep in her bedroom several nights a week after he convinced them it was part of a therapy program to overcome the abuse he claimed he suffered as a child.
As a result of the revelations in the documentary, retired social worker Mary Ann has had to take down her social media profiles – telling DailyMailTV she has been bombarded with a mixture of sympathy and abuse.
Her daughter says she has spent years wracked with guilt over what happened and attempted to use her career as a social worker to make up for her mistakes.
Broberg said: ‘They suffered and have suffered their whole lives with guilt that they did those things.
‘My mother placed hundreds of children in good foster homes and did hundreds of adoptions. She tried to make up for her mistakes by helping others.’
Berchtold came into Broberg’s life in 1972 when he moved to Pocatello, Idaho, with his family and began attending the same Mormon church as her parents.
She says the two families quickly became close, with Berchtold making a habit of taking her out on fun trips such as going snowmobiling.
But he would also often talk about alien abductions – a subject he would later use to ‘brainwash’ 12-year-old Broberg after he kidnapped her for the first time in 1974.
She told DailyMailTV that he had invited her to a sleepover with his daughters and, once there, gave her what appeared to be a doctored version of her usual anti-allergy pills.
Jan’s mother Mary Ann engaged in an eight-month affair with Berchtold after her daughter’s first kidnapping, but Jan says her mother spent her life suffering in guilt and worked as a social worker to make amends
Jan says her parents were far more concerned about her whereabouts than the documentary lets on, saying that they were naive but ‘not stupid’. Berchtold would give the children Christmas gifts as a ploy to gain access to them, including the chest Jan is sitting on in this photo
When she woke up, it was to find herself tied to a bed in a moving mobile home with a radio by her ear through which she received a message saying she had been kidnapped by aliens and would now be the ‘female companion’ to Berchtold.
She was also told that if she didn’t comply and provide evil Berchtold with a child to save Earth, her younger sister and the rest of her family would be at risk.
On that occasion, Broberg was missing for five weeks and was eventually found by the FBI in Mazatlan, Mexico.
But after she returned home, her parents signed affidavits saying Berchtold had their permission to take their daughter away, fearing the ‘dirty laundry’ about Robert’s sexual encounter with Berchtold would come out.
When their daughter went missing a second time in 1974, they waited two weeks before calling authorities.
FBI agent Pete Welsh, who was in charge of investigating Broberg’s disappearance, says in the documentary that ‘they were covering their own hide, not the kid.’
However, Broberg says her parents were far more concerned about her whereabouts than the documentary lets on.
One part of the story that was left out is that her mother went to confront Berchtold with a gun in September 1976 when he had kidnapped her a second time.
At this point, Mary Ann’s affair with Berchtold was over and she recognized him as the ‘bad guy,’ according to Broberg.
Broberg said her mother had received a call from Berchtold, who said he had information about her whereabouts.
She says her mother called FBI agent Welsh but was told that the agency couldn’t get involved in a matter in another state.
So her mother went to meet Berchtold at the Crossroads restaurant in Tremonton, Utah, with a gun hidden in her purse.
But Broberg claims Welsh was the one who provided her mother with the pistol. ‘My mother had had a call, as [Berchtold] called her every day even after she wasn’t having the affair.
‘He says, ‘I have information about Jan, where she is’. So my mom called Pete Welsh, called the FBI and said he has asked me to meet with him.’
‘My mother went down to Welsh’s office and he gave her a pistol to take with her. She had it in her purse. But she didn’t ever get the pistol out. It just sat in her purse.’
Mary Ann said in Abducted in Plain Sight she had a Coke with Berchtold inside the restaurant before continuing the conversation outside by his car.
But Mary Ann’s brother Randy was also there, watching her have the conversation with Berchtold from a truck with a friend
‘Randy came in a truck with a friend to just sit and watch while Mom had the conversation with Berchtold outside,’ Broberg said.
‘And Berchtold was going to give her information about where I was located but all he said that I was living a hard life in prostitution and drugs. That’s all he said to my mother. So nothing that helped.
‘And Mom said to him, ”that cannot be true, there is no way that Jan is doing that. I know you’re a liar”. And she left.
‘He gave her the ”big information” which was just another way to see my mother and see if he could still manipulate her. But it was too late.’
Berchtold was a ‘master manipulator’, Jan says, adding that her parents were ‘groomed’ by him so much that they didn’t call the police for two weeks after she disappeared the second time, something that she now forgives her parents for. ‘They suffered and have suffered their whole lives with guilt that they did those things,’ she says
She revealed that her father forbade Berchtold from coming into their house again after the first kidnapping, which the documentary did not show. The kidnapper is pictured over the home with Jan and Mary Ann during Christmas, before the kidnappings
She also says that her parents retracted their affidavits four days after signing them and gave a statement to their local newspaper.
‘The affidavit that my parents signed because they didn’t want Dad’s dirty laundry, is basically what they called it, but Dad’s sexual experience that he’d had with Berchtold, they didn’t want to come out,’ she said.
‘And that attorney for Berchtold had said, you know, ”we’ll get your children taken away from you and we’re gonna tell the world that your husband is this, that and the other”.
Jan was the Drill Team leader in 9th grade, pictured in her uniform the summer before she was taken the second time. She says she was embarrassed to be in 9th grade and still so flat and not developing at all, which she says was ‘a blessing in hindsight I guess…’
‘So they signed those affidavits but four days later, they retracted them. And there’s this article in the Pocatello newspaper that you can read, a statement that they made. The District Attorney had them write a statement to the newspaper that they retracted those statements.’
She also revealed that her father forbade Berchtold from ever coming into their house again after the first kidnapping.
‘He was never allowed back in my house after the first kidnapping,’ she told DailyMailTV. ‘My father absolutely refused.
‘Even though he didn’t know that he was sexually abusing me, he didn’t think that, he did know that he shouldn’t come back into the house.’
Broberg revealed she didn’t know the ‘full story’ about her parents sexual encounters with Berchtold until she was in her early 20s.
She said her father had been vague about the details at first, but then said he needed to speak out.
Berchtold had claimed in court that he had been in a homosexual relationship with Robert – but in the documentary, he insisted it was a one-off incident.
‘My Dad was so embarrassed. He told me about it. But I knew more because my mother was more of an open book with me right from the beginning.
‘Whereas my Dad was like, ”Oh, he used all of us. He found out weaknesses and he used all of us. He manipulated all of us.” And he didn’t have an affair with Berchtold. He had the one event.’
Broberg says she doesn’t blame her mother for not seeing through Berchtold’s act, even though their affair began after the first kidnapping.
‘I think that’s the hardest thing for people to wrap their head around. But again, she didn’t know anything,’ Broberg said.
‘He was always after her, he was calling her constantly. ”Mary Ann, I’m in love with you. Mary Ann, I want to see you. Mary Ann, this, Mary Ann, that.”
‘I don’t think people get that. I don’t think they understand that. And she still feels terrible to this day.’
Predator Berchtold continued to abuse Broburg until she was 16 and later went on to rape and sexually assault a further four girls.
In 1986, he served time in jail after being convicted of the rape of his final victim but was released after just a year for good behavior.
And, he continued to harass Broberg long after the abuse ended – once even calling to ask her ‘permission’ to marry his second wife.
Jan says she doesn’t blame her mother Mary Ann for not seeing through Berchtold’s act and even though their affair began after the first kidnapping her mother eventually saw him as the ‘bad guy’. They went on to speak out at conferences together about their experience, pictured at a speaking engagement in 2001
Berchtold continued to abuse Jan until she was 16 and later went on to rape and sexually assault a further four girls. She took out a restraining order against him in 2003 before he took his own life after only serving one year in jail
In 2003, she was forced to take out a restraining order against him after he showed up to a talk she was giving at Dixie State University in St George, Utah.
She saw him for the final time when the case went to court in 2004. A year later, in 2005, Berchtold – fearful of going back to jail – committed suicide by guzzling pain pills, washed down with Kahlua liquor.
Broberg recalled: ‘I was in shock. I was relieved. I cried. On and off all day. I was angry. Because he never served his time in jail for me or any of the other little girls or the families except for that one year.
‘I just wanted to have him know and admit and accept how he had affected so many lives. Because of his actions. I wanted him to know what he had done to so many people.
‘I felt so sorry for his own children. For his wife. His ex-wife. That he had groomed and manipulated them. Because they never thought he was a monster. So it was a very emotional day for me.’
Broberg, who now runs a theater and lives with her son Austen, 29, as well as her mother, says she hopes telling her story will help save future generations of children from suffering similar abuse.
She told DailyMailTV: ‘Even if the commentary is mean or negative towards my parents and people miss some of the more finer details about it, they’re talking about it.
‘Which to me, means we are going to make a difference. When I have received 20,000 private messages from people around the world that say thank you for being our voice.
‘I’m like OK, now people will have to notice that this is not a problem with scary strangers. This is a problem because we do not see it.
‘We can root out the pedophiles in our school systems, in our community centers in our Boy Scouts, I could go on and on. Then we’re actually making some progress.’