One aspect of true-crime documentaries that makes them so interesting is the unsettling feeling you get from watching the horror unfold on the screen. “Abducted in Plain Sight,” also known as “Forever B,” is a 2017 true-crime documentary you can find on Netflix that is filled with moments capable of stirring this unsettling feeling.
The documentary focuses on two families, the Brobergs and the Berchtolds. Jan Broberg Felt was abducted twice by her family’s friend and neighbor Robert Berchtold.
I know what you’re probably thinking: twice? How does one girl get abducted two times by the same man? Well, this documentary answers that complex question.
Jan is such a strong woman for sharing her story through insightful interviews in this documentary. Her parents Bob and Mary Ann Broberg also share their sides of the story in the film.
Jan and her entire family were linked with the Berchtold family, as they were neighbors in Idaho and all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Robert Berchtold took an interest in Jan early on in their relationship. He first abducted her after he offered to take her horseback riding when she was 12 years old in 1974. This was not out of the ordinary, as Berchtold was familiar with the family — he was even described as a “second father” in the documentary.
After taking what Jan believed to be allergy pills, she woke up strapped to a bed in a confined space, later revealed to be Berchtold’s mobile home. A recording began explaining to her what became known as “her mission.”
She was told by the recording that she was half-alien and was to have a child with Berchtold by the age of 16 in order to save the species.
Yes, I am in just as much shock and confusion as you are, but this storyline is a testament to how Berchtold was able to manipulate Jan into thinking she was forever linked to him. By doing this, he was able to sexually assault Jan many times during the following years.
Jan and Berchtold were missing for about a month but eventually were found in Mexico by the FBI.
Berchtold blackmailed the Broberg parents into signing affidavits stating that he had their consent to take Jan across the border. Berchtold had affairs with both Bob and Mary Ann. Yes, you read that right. He used this information to manipulate them into signing the affidavits.
Because of the affidavits, Berchtold had minimum jail time and only served 10 days in prison.
Berchtold kidnapped Jan for a second time in 1976 when she was 14 years old. This time he took her to California, posed as her father and enrolled her in a Catholic school. This kidnapping lasted for about four months.
The overall themes of manipulation and confusion can be found throughout this film. Although you may be skeptical of how it all happened, I encourage you to watch the documentary to better understand the complex relationships within these families.
This is one of my favorite true-crime documentaries, and I have watched it several times.
Watch it with a friend or two so you can pause the movie and discuss the chaos happening. You’ll find yourself screaming at your screen as you watch this film unfold.