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New true crime drama follows case of girl who was kidnapped by the same man twice

Ali Condon

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| Last updated 

New true crime drama follows case of girl who was kidnapped by the same man twice

Featured Image Credit: Peacock

When 12-year-old Jan Broberg was kidnapped, investigators, her family, and the wider community of Pocatello, Idaho were at a loss on how to find her.

When she was kidnapped again by the same perpetrator just two years later, her loved ones were just as stunned.

In both instances, the pre-teen had been abducted and groomed by family friend and neighbour Bob Berchtold, better known by the family as 'B'.

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But it wasn't just young Jan who was groomed by the nefarious neighbour. Both her father Robert and her mother Mary Ann eventually found themselves caught up in 'B's web of lies - each one blindly trusting him with their children and even engaging their own secret sexual affairs with him.

There's a chance that true crime fans might recognise this bizarre story from Netflix's Abducted In Plain Sight; a documentary that had viewers tearing their hair out and shouting at their TV screens.

The almost unbelievable incident is now going to be dramatised in Peacock's new drama series A Friend Of The Family, starring Anna Paquin, Colin Hanks, and Jake Lacy, and produced by Jan Broberg herself.

Back in the 1970s, Jan's family lived in a small town and were part of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Despite neighbour Bob Berchtold's obvious fascination with their eldest daughter, Mary Ann and Robert would never have guessed that he was behind her disappearance.

After managing to drug 12-year-old Jan and take her to Mexico, 'B' managed to convince the child that she had been contacted by aliens, and that she had been chosen for an extra-terrestrial mission to have children with a male they had chosen.

Jan Broberg with neighbour Bob Berchtold. Credit: Netflix
Jan Broberg with neighbour Bob Berchtold. Credit: Netflix

It was a surprise to Jan, then, when she came face-to-face with her trusted neighbour 'B' as the man the 'aliens' had supposedly chosen for her.

By the time authorities had located Jan, she had been legally married to 'B', thanks to a worryingly young age of consent in Mexico.

Before Jan's parents got around to calling the police on their neighbour, 'B's wife Gail showed up at their front door and warned Jan's father that if he didn't drop the charges, his intimate relationship with 'B' would be exposed. Eventually, Jan's parents agreed to sign affidavits claiming that 'B' likely assumed he had permission to take their daughter .

Eventually, when suspicions started to die down, 'B' managed to rebuild his connections to the Broberg family by starting a sexual relationship with Jan's mum Mary Ann.

There came a point, from 1975 and 1976, where 'B' was having sexual encounters with both Mary Ann and her daughter Jan.

Two years after her original kidnapping, Jan, who was still convinced she was on an alien mission, went missing again.

Although a note left in her bedroom suggested that she had run away from home, the reality was that 'B' had taken her once again. Jan's parents didn't report her disappearance for two weeks.

Jake Lacy plays 'B' in the new drama series. Credit: Peacock
Jake Lacy plays 'B' in the new drama series. Credit: Peacock

Eventually, Jan was found by authorities and 'B' was charged with first degree kidnapping, among other charges.

It wasn't until Jan was 16 that she started to believe that the terrifying alien mission she had been faced with wasn't real.

Jan first decided to tell her story, with the help of her mum in the book Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story.

Now, Jan, who went on to become an actress, is bringing her story to the small screen with the help of her mum, in the hopes of exposing just how easily a grooming and abuse story like hers can unfold.

A Friend of the Family will be available on Peacock on Sky and Now from 7 October in the UK.

Topics: TV And Film, True Crime

Ali Condon
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