Girl who was kidnapped twice by her neighbour – and forced to marry him aged 12

If you’re a fan of Making a Murderer or Evil Genius, then Netflix’s latest true crime offering will be one you want to watch.

The documentary follows the story of Jan Broberg who was kidnapped twice – once when she was 12, and then again when she was 14 – by family friend and neighbour, Robert Berchtold, then 40.

The relationship between the pair is described by people who knew them as "unnatural".

Even Jan readily admits: "I loved him as deeply as I’ve ever loved anyone."

Berchtold had ‘brainwashed and manipulated’ Jan’s parents into allowing their daughter to share a bed with him.

He claimed he was sexually abused as a child and that it was the only thing that could help him.

For six weeks, while sharing a bed with Jan, he molested her multiple times, without her parents suspecting a thing.

In the show, Jan’s mother recalls the day Berchtold said he wanted to take Jan out horseback riding.

She had no reason not to trust him, and no reason not to let Jan go. But when her daughter didn’t return later that day, she started to get nervous.

After reporting Jan’s disappearance to the police, a nationwide search was conducted to find the missing girl.

Instead of taking Jan horseriding, Berchtold had drugged her with sleeping pills before driving her to his campervan in the Mexican desert, 2,000 miles away from her home in Idaho.

Jan remembers: "I was in and out of sleep, like a real deep sleep, and I thought I had been abducted by aliens, that I was an alien."

Shockingly, Berchtold forced 12-year-old Jan to marry him, and continued to sexually assault her.

He even created a sick story, telling Jan they had to get married and conceive a child together in order to ‘save the world."

Jan says: "The mission, was that I was to have a child that would save the alien planet by the time I turned 16."

Eventually, Berchtold called his brother, Joe, to tell him he had got married to Jan in Mexico, where the legal age was 12.

Joe immediately reported his brother to the police. Jan was sent back home to Idaho, where a physician who examined her claimed she had not been sexually abused.

Scared of what might happen to her ‘husband’ if people found out what he had done, Jan kept quiet and charges against Berchtold were dropped.

In the documentary , Berchtold’s brother Joe, says: "My brother was always a sexual pervert. He always did like his little girls."

But the real twist is the fact that Berchtold managed to kidnap Jan again just two years later, when she was 14.

Shockingly, Jan’s parents forgave the paedophile, who used the opportunity to grow close to the girl again.

Berchtold continued to secretly have contact with Jan, often breaking into her parents’ house and sneaking into Jan’s room.

He convinced Jan that what they were doing was ‘right’ and, believing him, she went along with his every whim.

Dad’s sick ultimatum to daughter: Help me murder your mum or I’ll kill myself  

"It shifted from a love like a father to a love like a husband," Jan admits. "I would do whatever I was told to do."

That was when Berchtold planned to kidnap Jan a second time.

On 10 August 1976, two years since her first disappearance, she willing left her home in the middle of the night to meet Berchtold.

"You won’t let me do what’s right so I’ll do what’s wrong. I do not plan on coming back, I just want to be me and have ‘B’. Let me go," Jan wrote in a goodbye note to her parents.

It would be another three months before Berchtold was found, living in a caravan filled with images of his child bride pinned all over the walls.

But Jan wasn’t there.

Just as her family were about to give up hope of ever seeing their little girl again, Jan called her sister at the family’s home.

She was ringing from a Catholic school in California where Jan had been enrolled under the identity of Berchtold’s daughter.

He was arrested and Jan was finally returned home.

Berchtold was taken to a metal facility where he was kept for six months before being released. He spent just over a month in jail as punishment for his crimes.

Despite everything, Berchtold continued to stalk the family and tried to contact Jan before they eventually filed for a stalking injunction in 2004.

He was arrested in 2005 for not obeying the terms of the injunction and for keeping an illegal gun.

His brother, Joe, says: “He was found guilty and he had to go back for sentencing, but he said if he went to prison it would kill him. He took all his heart medicine and drank Kahlua, and died. He committed suicide.”

Like Making A Murder and Evil Genius that has gone before it, Abducted In Plain Sight is already proving popular with UK viewers after it was added to the streaming service earlier this month.

On Twitter , viewers expressed their shock at the sordid story.

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