Jan Broberg is an actress and author whose story about being abducted twice by a family friend is reaching new audiences through popular streaming series.
The true-crime saga is being given new life on the Peacock channel through the doc-series, “A Friend of the Family.” Netflix previously streamed a show on Broberg’s story of grooming and manipulation. She is sometimes known as Jan Broberg Felt.
Is it real? Where is Jan Broberg now?
Here’s what you need to know:
The Story Is True
The show features the real-life story of the kidnapping and brainwashing of Broberg by a family friend named Robert “B” Berchtold. According to Reveille, the real events happened in 1972 when the Broberg family met Berchtold at church, and their families grew close. At the time Broberg was 12.
According to Conan Daily, in 1974, the 40-year-old Berchtold kidnapped Jan “and took her to Mexico where he brainwashed and abused her for five weeks.”
He was arrested and served 10 days in jail, but the parents resumed contact, the site reported, adding that, at age 14, he abducted her again, lying that she was his daughter and enrolling her as a student in a Catholic school in Pasadena, California.
Berchtold was located by the FBI and arrested. He ultimately ended up in a mental institution on an insanity charge “and was released after only six months,” the site reported.
Broberg’s mother, Mary Ann Broberg, even wrote a book about it called “Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story,” which was published in 2003 and is still available on Amazon.com.
How does a mother cope when her twelve-year-old is suddenly abducted? What goes through the mind of a child when she is far from home, helpless to determine her own destiny? How is a family affected when the oldest child is gone for weeks, months, when they don’t know whether she is dead or alive, when they have no idea where she is? Stolen Innocence follows the real-life trail of deception that plagued Jan Broberg from the age of twelve when she became the victim of a terrifying and bizarre four-year brainwashing ordeal. Jan’s captor maintained such a convincing and threatening hold on her that even after she returned home from the initial kidnapping she continued to secretly meet him and was eventually taken from home a second time.
Stolen Innocence is a gripping story for anyone seeking assurance that the human mind and spirit can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. It tells the story of one familys survival over incredible afflictions. Join their triumphant journey; see how the same determination, unending hope, and unwavering faith in God that provided strength to win their battles can give you strength to win yours. Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story details not only the frightening acts of a dangerous pedophile, but also shows warning signals and teaches many of the tough lessons that parents, neighbors and society must learn in order to better protect our children.
Broberg’s story was also featured in a Netflix show called “Abducted in Plain Sight,” which aired in 2017.
However, according to Reveille, Broberg’s parents “allowed Berchtold to sleep in Jan’s bed four times a week for six months right up until she was taken” after Berchtold said it was part of church-approved therapy. The site also claims that “both parents also engaged in sexual relationships with Berchtold.”
Berchtold molested the child and convinced her she was part-alien, the site reports.
Broberg defended her parents after criticism erupted against them following the Netflix show.
“Manipulation and grooming are not understood by so many. It happened to my whole family, this man was a master and my parents saved my life. They’re the bravest people I know, willing to try to help the rest of you see what they didn’t. That is the only reason we told our story,” she wrote on Twitter.
Berchtold Claimed Broberg Was ‘Trying to Make a Buck’
In 2004, when she wrote a book about the abductions, ABC News wrote about the case, alleging that Berchtold showed up at a women’s conference Broberg was hosting with her mother.
He told ABC News he was there “to talk to members of a group called Bikers Against Child Abuse.” However, he was accused of attacking a biker with his minivan, leading to charges “of simple assault, criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct,” ABC reported.
He denied the allegations to ABC. “Berchtold says that while he did have a relationship with Felt, it was not sexual. He also says they never talked about UFOs and that he never tried to brainwash her,” ABC reported.
“They’re trying to make a buck,” Berchtold told ABCNEWS.com. Where is Berchtold today? He has died.
According to his obituary, he died in 2005. It reads:
Robert Ersol Berchtold, 69, of Logandale, died Nov. 11, 2005. He was a truck driver and served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He is survived by his wife, Deanna; sons, Jerry, James, Joseph, and Jeff; daughter, Jill Scott; and mother, Lucille. Viewing from 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, with services to follow, at the Logandale LDS 2nd Ward Chapel. Viewing also from 10-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, with services to follow, at Gilles Funeral Chapel, Brigham City, Utah.
Broberg, Who Is an Actress Today, Is Active on Social Media
Broberg is on Twitter, where she calls herself, “Actor||Producer||Mother||Survivor.” She has written about the upcoming Peacock show
According to her IMDb profile, Broberg is an actress. “Jan Broberg was born on July 31, 1962 in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. She is an actress and writer, known for Abducted in Plain Sight (2017), A Friend of the Family (2022) and Maniac (2012),” the site reports.
Broberg married Larry Felt and is sometimes known as Jan Broberg Felt, Conan Daily reported.
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