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24th Jan 2019

Netflix’s new true crime documentary, Abducted In Plain Sight, is an astonishing watch

Abducted in Plain Sight has been added to the Netflix library and it's one of the most astonishing documentaries that you'll see

Paul Moore

Trust us, your jaw will be on the floor – it’s insane

While nobody should ever feel desensitised or slightly apathetic to some of the horrific crimes that have been documented in various TV shows, films and documentaries, you could argue that the ‘shock factor’ has been slightly diminished.

Simply put, people are becoming more accustomed to seeing horrific stories of murder, corruption, kidnappings etc. on a regular basis.

While viewers might categorise shows like Making A Murderer and The Innocent Man as ‘entertainment’, it should always be remembered that these cases involve real people, real tragedy, and real loss.

The surge in popularity of the true crime genre might lead certain viewers to have an attitude of relative familiarity, but Netflix’s latest true crime addition is definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Abducted In Plain Sight documents the story of a young girl named Jan Broberg, who was abducted by Joe Berchtold, an extremely close friend of her family who gained the trust of her parents.

Berchtold was a married man with a family of his own, however, the details of his sinister plan to earn the trust of the Broberg family in an effort to groom their 12-year-old daughter is chilling. 

In October 1974, he kidnapped Jan and fled to Mexico with her. He then tried to brainwash her, attempting to convince her that she was an alien and needed to conceive a baby with him by the time of her 16th birthday to save her home planet.

Aside from sexually molesting and brainwashing Jan, Berchtold also seduced both of her parents, Mary Ann and Bob, to manipulate them into giving him access to their young daughter.

Since Berchtold had become so close to the family and earned their trust, after Jan was kidnapped, the Brobergs didn’t call the police until a few days had passed.

Robert ‘B’ Berchtold was a paedophile, but the documentary stresses that this was an era when people were completely oblivious and naive to these horrific actions.

Brainwashing, blackmail, arson, death threats, and alien abduction are all prevalent in a story that truly defines the term ‘so unbelievable that it could only be true’. 

After the police found Jan and returned her to her parents, the Brobergs continued to stay in touch with Berchtold. Without giving too much away, he manipulated the family into signing legal affidavits that exonerated him of his horrific behaviour.

In 1976, he kidnapped Jan again and fled with her to California. She was missing for more than 100 days before she was found and returned home.

Since being added to the Netflix library, the general response from viewers has been incredible with viewers calling Abducted in Plain Sight ‘bonkers’ and jaw-dropping’.

We fully agree.