5 things to know about the Jan Broberg abduction case

Jan Broberg Felt (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty)
Jan Broberg Felt (Image via Robin Marchant/Getty)

The shocking Jan Broberg kidnapping case is the subject of Peacock's new crime drama series, A Friend of the Family. Broberg was abducted twice in the 70s allegedly by a family friend named Robert Berchtold.

Jan Broberg and her family were reportedly manipulated by Berchtold, who escaped punishment for his alleged crimes. Read on to find out five key details pertaining to the Jan Broberg case ahead of Peacock's A Friend of the Family's release on October 6, 2022.


A Friend of the Family: 5 key details about the Jan Broberg kidnapping case

1) Robert Berchtold allegedly manipulated the Broberg family

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According to Grunge, Robert Berchtold was a business owner and was married with children. He'd moved into a new house near the Broberg family home in Pocatello, Idaho. He won the family's trust and confidence, which later allegedly helped him get closer to Broberg and eventually kidnap her in 1974.

As per Oxygen, he avoided kidnapping charges after convincing Broberg's parents to sign an affidavit that permitted him to travel with Jan. According to the publication, Robert Berchtold allegedly got into separate affairs with Jan Broberg's parents and later kidnapped Jan again in 1976.


2) The bizarre Alien story

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After kidnapping Jan Bronberg for the first time in 1974, Robert Berchtold allegedly manipulated Broberg using audio clippings into thinking that she was the savior of an alien race, for which to sustain, she must give birth to Berchtold's child, as per Oxygen.

Berchtold allegedly said that if she did not agree to it, she and her family would be harmed.


3) Robert Berchtold's jail time in 1986

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After kidnapping Broberg for the second time in 1976 and returning her after the FBI rescued her, Berchtold again evaded kidnapping charges by claiming a mental defect.

According to Deseret News, he was later committed to a mental asylum for less than six months. In 1986, Robert Berchtold spent a year in jail after he was found guilty of raping another child.


4) Jan and Mary Ann Broberg published a book in 2003

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Jan Broberg and her mother, Mary Ann, published a book decades later titled Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story. As per Oxygen, six women came out with their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of Robert Berchtold. Berchtold denied the accusations levied against him in the book.

He later reportedly went to a women's conference attended by Jan Broberg, following which she filed a restraining order against him. Berchtold also assaulted a member of Bikers Against Child Abuse, a group that was present at the event at Jan's request.


5) Robert Berchtold's death

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Robert Berchtold's violent confrontation with Bikers Against Child Abuse ended with him being found guilty of simple assault, criminal trespassing, and disorderly conduct, as per Oxygen.

Fearing prison, Berchtold killed himself by consuming huge quantities of heart medication pills with alcohol on November 11, 2005, at 69.

In a previous documentary titled Abducted in Plain Sight, which explored the case, Berchtold's brother said that Robert did not want to go to prison. He said (obtained via Oxygen):

''Bob had gone to court that day and been found guilty. He says, 'If it's one day in prison, it's going to kill me. I'm not going there.' He had taken all his heart medicine and drank Kahlua and milk. He drank that and died.''

Over the years, Jan Broberg Felt has established a career as an actress, appearing in numerous shows and films, including Iron Man 3, Touched by an Angel, Everwood, and many more.

Don't forget to catch Peacock's A Friend of the Family on Thursday, October 6, 2022.

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Edited by R. Elahi