Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

abducted in plain sight poster 2017 documentary
8.5 Overall Score

Insane and shows how adults can fail children

Could have been a series

Movie Info

Movie Name: Abducted in Plain Sight

Studio: Top Knot Films

Genre(s): Documentary

Release Date(s): May 26, 2017 (Mammoth Lake Film Festival)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

abducted in plain sight jan broberg robert b berchtold kidnapping documentary

I hated it when my parents said I can’t spend time when my adult friends when I was twelve…

In 1974, a crime was committed in the town of Pocatello, Idaho.  Jan Broberg was taken from her home by a family friend named Robert “B” Berchtold.  While the abduction was appalling, the events that followed were even more shocking.  Aliens, affairs, and Mexico marriages were revealed, and the events changed a family forever.

Directed by Skye Borgman, Abducted in Plain Sight is a documentary involving the multiple kidnappings of Jan Broberg.  Also called Forever B, the documentary premiered in 201 at the Mammoth Lake Film Festival but received a wider release in 2019 on Netflix.

I heard buzz about Abducted in Plain Sight and as a fan of true crime stories, I decided to check it out.  While you often hear about sensationalized stories, but the sensation is often that…but Abducted in Plain Sight was also is potentially more shocking and unbelievable.

abducted in plain sight fahter bob broberg

No…the first kidnapping was due to manipulation and grooming…but allowing him back into your life and around your child is on you (and your fears of being outed)

What mainly gained attention about the documentary (and rightfully so) is the parents’ reaction to the kidnapper.  While Berchtold was “grooming” Jan, he was also grooming the whole family.  He ended up seducing and having affairs with both Mary Ann and Bob Broberg to get closer to Jan.  While both Mary Ann and Bob were manipulated, the real question is the complacent and self-preservation that they both underwent at the cost of Jan.  They both got caught in a snare and instead of losing face for their own daughter, they opted to not go forward with charges against a pedophile and in turn, they allowed her to still in his presence when he was obviously obsessed with her.

With her parents’ negated by Berchtold, Berchtold had free rein to manipulate Jan…but he did it in a bizarre way.  He preyed on her religious beliefs and compelled her to him by telling her that she was half-alien and the fate of humanity relied on her…an adult she cared for was telling her this and that makes it believable (especially since it was a taboo and un-talked about subject especially within the church).

abducted in plain sight jan broberg today

I’m glad for your mental sake you can forgive, but your parents were compliant in your molestation

The less talked about and odd part is Bob Berchtold himself.  There is little examination of his life except through his brother.  Bob claimed molestation and early sexual contact in attempts to manipulate Jan and her parents, but the documentary doesn’t do much to definitively explore this.  Bob’s brother outright states that his brother was a pedophile…and seems ok with it.  He interacted with Bob and Jan when they were staying together and didn’t interject.  Jan was failed again, and from the interviews, he doesn’t seem to even understand that.

Abducted in Plain Sight is a head-scratcher because you are constantly surprised by the ineptitude of the “adults” involved.  The excuse “it was a different time in 1973” really doesn’t fly because sleeping with a twelve-year-old went out with pioneer times…and not the ’60s.  Stranger-Danger and other threats of pedophiles were known even if they weren’t as broadcast at the time; it wasn’t the 1940s or 1950s where shiny, happy people filled the world of radio and television.  Abducted in Plain Sight could have been much longer (in fact, the timeline of the events gets a little wonky at times) and it would have kept being compelling.  I could see the film being expanded sometime with the popularity of true-crime series continuing to soar.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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