When Jan Broberg was 15, the same man who had sexually abused her for years kidnapped her twice. Since then, Broberg has told the chilling story of how Robert Berchtold, a family friend in the 1970s, tricked her family into trusting him.
Broberg has said more than once that Berchtold abused her for years and then took her hostage and fled to Mexico when she was only 12 years old.
Where Is Jan Broberg Now?
The actress, who has appeared in movies and television series such as “Everwood,” “Iron Man 3” and “Haunt,” has told this strange true story on college campuses, at speaking engagements, in a new book, and in the popular Netflix documentary “Abducted.”
Now it’s part of a series based on true events, “A Friend of the Family,” starring Anna Paquin, Colin Hanks, and Jake Lacy. The series, which stars Anna Paquin, Colin Hanks, and Jake Lacy, will debut on Oct. 6 on Peacock.
Broberg and her mother, Mary Ann Broberg, both serve as producers on the series.
Before the series begins, Jan Broberg speaks briefly to the audience and explains why she wanted to relive some of the scariest times of her life.
She says, “My name is Jan Broberg, and this show is based on my life.” “I know it sounds crazy, but we lived in a different world back then…. So many people seem to think that something like this could never happen to them, especially to someone they know and trust, but it did. My family went through it. I went through it.”
In the 1970s, Berchtold and his family moved to the Brobergs’ neighborhood in Pocatello, Idaho, as shown in the Peacock series.
Broberg said in an earlier press release about the project that the two families quickly formed a “deep friendship.” In the years that followed, they went to church functions, family dinners, game nights, barbecues, and other events together.
Berchtold had become like a second father to her, but her family didn’t know that her married father was secretly obsessed with Jan.
According to ABC News, Berchtold took her away from her family on Oct. 17, 1974, when she was 12 years old, after telling her he would take her horseback riding. He then drove her to Mexico in a motor home.
As the broadcast shows, she woke up in the RV strapped to a bed with an ivory box playing a message that aliens had abducted her because they believed she could save their planet. To do that, she would have to have a baby with her male partner. She told the outlet that she would be “vaporized on the spot” if she didn’t do what was asked of her.
Five weeks later, the FBI rescued Broberg, but she was still convinced she had to complete her “mission” to protect her family.
According to the Idaho State Journal, that’s the only reason she didn’t tell anyone about the sexual abuse or Berchtold’s strange methods of getting his way.
ABC News reports that Berchtold also secretly slept with Broberg’s father and forced her parents to sign affidavits stating that they had given Berchtold permission to take Broberg to Mexico.
In August 1976, he kidnapped her again and fled to California. Four months later, the FBI found her and rescued her again.
In the following years, Broberg tried to get her life back on track and took a job as an actress. According to IMDB, her first role was in 1992 in the television movie “In the Line of Duty: Siege at Marion.”
Recently, she has starred in a few vacation TV movies, and in October she will play a lawyer in “The Gabby Petito Story,” which will air on Lifetime.
Refinery29 reports that Broberg was executive director of the St. George Musical Theatre in Utah from 2003 to 2007. Most recently, he was executive director of the Kayenta Arts Foundation.
Broberg has taken the time to tell her own story, even though she actually wants to be an actress. In 2003, her mother, Mary Ann Broberg, wrote a book called “Stolen Innocence: The Story of Jan Broberg.” Recently, she and her mother co-wrote a book titled “The Jan Broberg Story,” which will be released in October.
Broberg told to ABC News in 2019 that she was angry that her parents didn’t do more to stop years of sexual abuse, but she said she now understands that “they too were groomed and manipulated” and that she has a “wonderful” relationship with them.
Her father, Bob Broberg, died in 2018. After the abuse, Broberg led a successful life, but she wouldn’t stop
After the abuse, Broberg went on to have a successful life, but she wouldn’t stop hearing about Berchtold.
Broberg told ABC News that she was promoting her mother’s book at a women’s conference in Utah in 2004 when Berchtold showed up and got into a fight with members of the group Bikers Against Child Abuse who were there to protect the actress.
One of the bikers said that Berchtold attacked him with his minivan, so Berchtold was arrested at the event and charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct, and criminal trespassing.
The biker told the police that Berchtold attacked him after he asked to look at some flyers he planned to hand out at the event.
Berchtold, on the other hand, said that the biker had tried to jump on his minivan as he was leaving the area.
Broberg said at the time on “Good Morning America” that she thought the book’s release made him come to the event.
She said, “I think he’s desperate now that he knows our story has gotten out.”
Berchtold told the news outlet at the time that he had not tried to see Broberg or her mother and that he had not sexually abused Jan as a child. According to The Source says that he killed himself the following year.
Broberg hopes that by telling the story of what happened to her family and how Berchtold used his charisma to control the people around him all those years ago as part of the limited series “A Friend of the Family,” the story can serve as a warning to other families.
When she announced the project, she said that she hopes the series will “get people talking, because secrets live in the dark and in silence.”
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