Jan Broberg was kidnapped twice by her own neighbor and trusted family friend, Robert Berchtold. The first abduction occurred when she was just 12 years old and the second, two years later, at the age of 14. Berchtold, a frequent visitor to the Broberg household, orchestrated these heinous acts.  

jan broberg

What happened to Jan Broberg?

It was the 17th of October in 1974 when the Broberg family was under the impression that Robert Berchtold, their family friend, had taken Jan Broberg on a horseback riding trip and that they would be coming back home soon for dinner. But the night came and passed and there was no word from them. 

It was on the 17th of October, 1974, when the Broberg family believed that Robert Berchtold, a family friend, had taken Jan Broberg on a horseback riding trip and that they would be returning home soon for dinner.

However, as the night passed with no word from them, Jan’s father Bob grew increasingly worried and contacted the police. Initially, the police were not looking for kidnapping and instead suspected that Berchtold and Jan may have been involved in a car accident.

Due to the close relationship between Berchtold and the Broberg family, it was unimaginable that he would harm their child. However, the reality of the situation was far more sinister and shocking than anyone could have imagined.

Jan Broberg kidnapping

The police began their search and after several days, it became clear that there had been no car accident. They needed to consider other possibilities for Jan Broberg and Robert Berchtold’s disappearance.

Jan Broberg with her family

It was eventually discovered that Berchtold had taken Jan to Mexico. He manipulated the twelve-year-old girl by telling her a fabricated story, which allowed him to sexually and mentally abuse her. Jan was drugged and taken to the Mexico desert. When she woke up, she found herself in Berchtold’s motor home, where a tape recorder informed her that she had been taken by aliens and that she must have a child with a man chosen by the aliens in order to save their dying planet. That “chosen male companion” was none other than Robert Berchtold.

The plan was so elaborate and expertly crafted for the mind of a child that she believed and complied with everything she was told.

Jan was brainwashed to believe in aliens

The FBI was able to locate Jan and Robert after a grueling five-week search. However, the damage had already been done as Berchtold had brainwashed Jan, convincing her to stay away from all boys and not to speak about the “aliens” to anyone else, or her parents would be “evaporated.”

Jan Broberg with Robert

Even after being found by the FBI, Jan never reported the sexual abuse she had endured. Berchtold spent only a few days in jail for the kidnapping of Jan. Despite this, he was able to re-enter Jan’s life and her home.

It was later revealed that Berchtold had not only persuaded Jan’s mother and father to have sexual relations with him months after the first kidnapping, but he also blackmailed them into signing legal affidavits as proof that he had their consent to take Jan to Mexico. He threatened to reveal the sexual act that Jan’s father Bob had engaged in with Berchtold.

Robert Kidnapped Jan second time

After the FBI rescued Jan for the first time from Mexico, she was compelled to maintain contact with her abductor, Berchtold, due to his threats related to an alleged association with extraterrestrial beings.

Berchtold abducted Jan again in 1976, at the age of 14, two years after the initial kidnapping. This time, they landed in California where Berchtold enrolled her in a Catholic school and presented himself to the world as her father and a CIA agent.

Despite being rescued four months later, Berchtold persisted in his threats, utilizing the alien narrative, until Jan turned 16 years old.”

What happened to Robert Berchtold?

This was the reality of Jan’s life: constant sexual abuse and blackmail at the hands of Berchtold. She lived this way until the age of 16 when she began to notice discrepancies in the narrative he had presented to her.

While at a summer camp, she encountered boys and panicked, leading her to call home to check on her supposed deceased parents. She discovered that they were still alive, which caused her to question the story Berchtold had fed her about aliens.

However, Berchtold had already taken steps to protect himself. He had coerced Jan’s parents, Bob and Mary Ann, into signing affidavits, which weakened the FBI’s case against him. As a result, Berchtold was given a lenient sentence of five years probation and five years in prison, which he never served.

Robert Berchtold served very little time

It was well-known that Berchtold had committed multiple acts of pedophilia against young girls from various families and had also been reprimanded by his church council. However, despite the severity of his crimes, he was never appropriately punished.

After Jan revealed the truth about the sexual abuse she had suffered, she sought counseling and attempted to move on with her life. However, Berchtold reappeared after a 30-year absence and began to harass her at public events. He was charged and brought to court, but ultimately took his own life before he could be sentenced.

In the end, Robert Berchtold served a mere 15 days in prison for his heinous crimes of sexually abusing multiple young children. The lack of justice served in this case is a tragic reminder of the ongoing need to hold perpetrators of sexual abuse accountable for their actions.

Did Jan ever get the due justice? 

This story serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers that can exist in everyday life and the importance of being vigilant and aware of potential red flags.

In Jan’s case, her parents were uncomfortable with Berchtold sleeping in bed with their twelve-year-old daughter, under the guise of therapy, but they still allowed it. Had they taken action and stood firm against Berchtold’s manipulation and pressure, he could have faced a harsher sentence. However, they withdrew their charges and never severed communication with their daughter’s kidnapper.

Hearing about what Jan Broberg endured, even within the supposed safety of her own home, it can be difficult to trust anyone with the innocence of our children. However, it also teaches us the importance of being aware and cautious, while not becoming overly paranoid or distrusting of everyone around us. Trust, but also remain vigilant.

Where is Jan Broberg now

Jan Broberg has had a successful career as an actor, beginning with her first role in the TV movie “In The Line of Duty: Siege at Marion” in 1992. She gained wider recognition in 2002 when she landed a role in the WB series “Everwood.”

jan broberg now

However, her past continued to haunt her as Berchtold attempted to attend an event where Broberg was speaking 30 years after her second kidnapping during her book and speaking tour. Broberg sought a restraining order and was granted a lifetime restraining order against Berchtold in 2004 after having to confront him in court. Berchtold passed away in 2005.

Despite these difficulties, Broberg has continued to pursue her acting career, with notable appearances in TV shows and films such as “Maniac,” “Haunt,” and “Iron Man 3.”

In addition to her acting career, Broberg has also been active in the arts community. In 2017, she was appointed executive director of the Kayenta Arts Foundation, where she played the lead role in their production of “Driving Miss Daisy” in 2018. Most recently, she appeared in Tru TV’s “I’m Sorry” series.

Abducted in Plain Sight: The case received widespread media attention and was the subject of the documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.” The documentary does not mention anything about Jan Broberg having a baby.

Did Jan Broberg have a baby?

Jan Broberg Felt is the proud mother of Auster Duke Tanner, who is the son of Jan and her ex-husband, Larry Felt. Auster currently serves as the Head Producer for The Jan Broberg Podcast, which focuses on sharing the stories of other survivors of child abuse and grooming. According to Jan, Auster has been a constant support throughout her life, acting as a “huge champion” and being involved in the production of the podcast series.


Now that you’ve read about Jan Broberg, read about Rosalynn McGinnis escaping her stepfather after 19 years of abuse with 8 of her children.

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