Kidnap victim Jan Broberg, the subject of Netflix documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight,” said she was “groomed” by her kidnapper to believe UFOs and extra-terrestrial life were a plausible possibility.
Monday on "The View," Broberg discussed her childhood and the steps taken by family friend Robert Berchtold, who went by the nickname “B,” to manipulate the family and kidnap Broberg twice.
The Broberg family met the Berchtold family through their church in a small town in Idaho in 1972, according to the documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.”
"He was the kind of guy that was just helpful," Broberg said of her initial impressions of B. "Everybody loved him."
With a corresponding friend for every family member, the families quickly grew close to one another, and B became like "a second father" to Broberg.
In 1974 at the age of 12, Broberg was taken on a special trip alone with B to go horseback riding. After Broberg took what she thought were allergy pills before heading to the stables, she passed out in the car, and remembers nothing of the car ride.
Broberg woke up strapped to a bed in an unidentifiable confined space that she learned years later was B's mobile home. A recording began to tell her the story of how she was half-alien, and the extra-terrestrial species' survival depended on her to procreate with the male companion of their choosing. That companion was B, and the mission was to have a child with him before Broberg turned 16 years old.
Broberg was missing for roughly a month during the first kidnapping, during which she was sexually assaulted by B. She was rescued by the FBI, who found Broberg and B in his mobile home in Mexico, according to the documentary.
B blackmailed Broberg’s parents, Bob and Mary Ann, into signing affidavits claiming he had consent to bring their daughter to Mexico after the first kidnapping, according to the documentary. Both parents claimed in the documentary that if they didn’t do this, B would expose a sex act that Bob and B engaged in prior to the kidnapping.
The affidavits compromised the FBI’s case against B, according to the documentary. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and five years in prison. All but 45 days of his prison sentence were suspended, and B ended up only serving 10 days in prison, according to the documentary.
After Broberg’s first kidnapping, B blackmailed her parents, Bob and Mary Ann, into signing affidavits claiming he had consent to bring their daughter to Mexico. Both parents claimed in the documentary that if they didn’t do this, B would expose a sex act that Bob and B engaged in prior to the kidnapping.
The affidavits compromised the FBI’s case against B. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and five years in prison. All but 45 days of his prison sentence were suspended, and B ended up only serving 10 days in prison.
The following two years, B kept in contact with Broberg, who said she felt she loved him. “Abducted in Plain Sight” viewers learned B kidnapped Broberg a second time from her parents’ home in Idaho in 1976 when she was 14. He brought her to California and enrolled her in a Catholic school, posing as her father and a CIA agent, according to the documentary. This kidnapping lasted for approximately four months, until she was rescued again by the FBI.
Broberg continued to believe the make-believe alien story up until her 16th birthday.
"You have to think again how the grooming happens," Broberg explained. "It happens before the actual incident occurs."
The fascination with potential alien life intersecting with life on Earth was popular in the early 1970s. B took the Broberg children and his own to science-fiction films in the two years prior to kidnapping Jan Broberg.
In addition, B would consistently show Broberg's parents, Mary Ann and Bob, newspaper clippings of alleged UFO sightings around the country. He wouldn't talk directly to young Broberg, but she would curiously listen to conversations about UFOs that B and her parents had in the kitchen.
"When people ask me about the brainwashing, I'm like, 'It took 10 seconds.' I'd been led up to that moment," Broberg said.
Growing up Mormon, Broberg told "The View" co-hosts she was somewhat familiar with the "Mary, Jesus, and Joseph story," and B told her a similar story through the voice recordings.
"I was this special person that was going to have this special child that was going to save the world," Broberg explained. "That's a story I heard at Christmas time."
Today, Jan Broberg has a "wonderful relationship" with her parents. Through therapy, she learned to forgive them for not stopping the years of abuse she endured from B.
"I had my moments of being angry and upset," Broberg says about resentment towards her parents. "But I knew they had been groomed and manipulated too."
Mary Ann was involved in an eight-month affair with B post kidnapping while she was still married to Bob, even though she knew he was her daughter’s abductor. They didn't find out about the “alien mission” B convinced their daughter of until 1978 after she turned 16.
"It's the smokescreen that a master manipulator creates," Broberg warned.
The cautionary tale Broberg tells about kidnapping today, is that "it's somebody you know, love, and trust, and probably somebody your child knows, loves, and trusts."
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