The unquestionably horrifying story of Jan Broberg’s kidnapping by her next-door neighbor Robert Berchtold not once, but twice when she was 12 and 14, respectively, is in all sincerity unlike any other case that has ever been investigated. After all, as discussed in the documentaries “Abducted in Plain Sight” on Netflix and “A Friend of the Family” by Peacock, he brainwashed her, deceived her parents, and managed every aspect of her life. Now, if you are interested in finding out more about him — with a particular emphasis on his transgressions, his penalties, his perspectives on the same, and the complete aftermath of it — we have the vital facts that you require for your consideration.

Robert Berchtold

Robert Berchtold

Who Was Robert Berchtold?

Robert, his wife Gail Toyn Berchtold, and their children relocated to Pocatello, Idaho, in the early 1970s. There, they made the unfortunate discovery that their new neighbors, the Brobergs, held the same religious beliefs as they did. They started going to church regularly, having family dinners together, and even going on vacations together until they were basically ingrained in one another’s daily routines. As a result, they formed a tight friendship very rapidly. In point of fact, he was finally successful in making advances on both Mary Ann Broberg and Robert “Bob” Broberg, and all three of the couple’s daughters eventually started referring to him as “dad,” with Jan being the eldest of the bunch.

Little did anyone understand, however, that Robert was head over heels in love with Jan. This is the reason why he not only persuaded her parents to allow him lay alongside her in bed, but also kidnapped her in October of 1974. Little did anyone realize, however, that Robert was besotted with Jan. After convincing the girl’s relatives that he was going to take her horseback riding, he actually poisoned the little girl before tying her up in his motor home and driving her to Mexico in the hopes of marrying her. There, he subjected her to extensive psychological manipulation in order to coerce her into believing that she was a half-alien who was obligated to procreate with him before she reached 16 in order to safeguard his ability to sexually abuse her indefinitely.

Five weeks later, Jan was found safe, but Robert was able to get away without facing any severe charges by convincing Jan’s parents, the Brobergs, to sign an affidavit stating that they had given him permission to travel with their daughter. Therefore, he was handed a five-year sentence for the lesser crimes, which was then reduced to forty-five days, and in the end, he only served ten days in jail before regaining his full freedom again. However, the two families continued to communicate with one another, which allowed him to basically kidnap Jan once more in August 1976. This time, he was successful in concealing her at a Catholic girl’s school in California for the duration of four months.

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How Did Robert Berchtold Die?

In November of 1976, the FBI was the agency that tracked down Robert and Jan, but Robert was able to avoid being charged with first-degree kidnapping a second time by successfully stating that he suffered from mental illness during his trial. Therefore, despite the fact that he had already migrated to Salt Lake City, Utah, by this point, he was ordered into a mental health hospital for treatment, only to be freed fewer than six months later. This occurred despite the fact that he had moved there by this point. As a direct consequence of this, the Berchtolds severed their ties with the Brobergs; nonetheless, it is essential to point out that Robert did do time in prison for the sexual assault of a kid approximately ten years after the fact (an unrelated matter).

After she had obtained a restraining order against him after his appearances at the events she was participating in to promote her biography titled “Stolen Innocence” around the year 2004, Robert and Jan finally had a face-to-face encounter with one another. During the time when he was adamantly proclaiming that her account was full of inaccuracies as well as lies to market her book, she asserted that “he was desperate since our story has come out.”

Jan was given the restraining order, and she also had the support of Bikers Against Child Abuse; consequently, an altercation broke out between the two of them when Robert turned up once more at an event in 2005. After showing up at Jan’s event and causing injury to BACA members, Robert was subsequently arrested and charged with five crimes, including three felonies and two misdemeanors, all of which he was found guilty of committing. According to the documentary ‘Abducted in Plain Sight,’ the man, who was 69 years old at the time, decided that he did not want to spend any more time in jail, so he committed suicide by taking an overdose of his heart medication and Kahlua before he could be sentenced. He died on November 11, 2005.

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