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‘I was one of the lucky ones’: Woman abducted TWICE by a family friend whose extraordinary story was told in a hit Netflix documentary insists she’s been fortunate to ‘heal’ from the abuse
- Jan Broberg, now 56, from Utah, was kidnapped when she was only 12 and 14
- Neighbour Robert Berchtold seduced and blackmailed both of Jan’s parents
- Today Jan said she doesn’t blame parents and thinks she is one of ‘lucky’ ones
A woman who was kidnapped twice by a family friend and has shared her story on Netflix show Abducted in Plain Sight has said she was ‘one of the lucky ones.’
Jan Broberg, now 56, from Santa Clara, Utah, was abducted when she was only 12 and 14 years old by paedophile Robert ‘B’ Berchtold.
However in an interview on Lorraine today, Jan revealed that she considers herself ‘one of the lucky ones’ compared to other abuse and kidnap survivors.
Appearing live via satellite from Las Vegas, Jan said: ‘I’ve done plenty of therapy. I had a wonderful twelve years with wonderful parents.
Jan Broberg, now 56, from Utah, spoke on Lorraine today and said she believes she was ‘one of the lucky ones’ compared to other abuse and kidnap survivors
Jan, pictured with abuser Robert Berchtold in 1974, was kidnapped twice at the age of 12 and 14. The first time she was taken, Jan was missing for five weeks before being found in Mexico
‘I was one of the lucky ones that I think had all the right pieces in order to heal from that horrible abuse.’
In the 1970s, Jan was groomed by her neighbour Berchtold, who abused her more than 200 times.
He kidnapped twice, starting in 1974, under a cover story that Jan was an alien who had to procreate with him to save a faraway planet.
He also seduced both of her parents and subsequently blackmailed them to escape proper justice for his crimes.
Both her parents were close to Berchtold and did not report her missing for five days after she was first abducted at age 12 for fear of upsetting the predator’s wife Gail.
Jan’s mother Mary Ann, now 80, had an eight-month affair with Berchtold after her daughter’s first kidnapping, while her father Robert, who died last November aged 81, admitted he had once masturbated Berchtold in his car.
They also allowed Berchtold to regularly take teenage Jan out and let him sleep in her bedroom several nights a week after he convinced them it was part of a therapy program to overcome the abuse he claimed he suffered as a child.
Today Jan told Lorraine Kelly that she believes her parents are ‘guiltless’ in the saga, but added that ‘it takes something to forgive the people in your life that you might have felt let down by’.
Jan explained how she still ‘thinks about him [Berchtold] quite often’ as she had learned to ‘love him like a father.’
Jan, pictured now, said she still thinks about Berchtold sometimes as she ‘loved him like a father’ when she was growing up
Berchtold, pictured with Jan in 1973, was close with the Brobergs’ and the two families used to spent a lot of time together. Jan said she does not blame her parents for what happened
She said: ‘He became like a father to me, he did all the right things to build that love and trust.
‘If something had happened to my parents they probably would have signed paper work to say “hey you guys raise our children”. His wife and five kids were our best friends.’
As a result of the revelations in the Netflix documentary, retired social worker Mary Ann had to take down her social media profiles – telling DailyMailTV she has been bombarded with a mixture of sympathy and abuse.
Jan said her mother has spent years wracked with guilt over what happened and attempted to use her career as a social worker to make up for her mistakes.
Jan said: ‘They suffered and have suffered their whole lives with guilt that they did those things.
‘My mother placed hundreds of children in good foster homes and did hundreds of adoptions. She tried to make up for her mistakes by helping others.’
Jan’s mother Mary Ann, now 80 and pictured with the family when Jan (top right) was a young girl, had an eight-month affair with Berchtold after her daughter’s first kidnapping and Jan’s father Robert, once masturbated Berchtold in his car
Berchtold came into the Brobergs’ lives in 1972 when he moved to Pocatello, Idaho, with his family and began attending the same Mormon church as her parents.
Jan said the two families quickly became close, and Berchtold would often talk about alien abductions – a subject he would later use to ‘brainwash’ her.
The first time she was taken, Jan was missing for five weeks and was eventually found by the FBI in Mazatlan, Mexico.
But after she returned home, her parents signed affidavits saying Berchtold had their permission to take their daughter away, fearing the ‘dirty laundry’ about Robert’s sexual encounter with Berchtold would come out.
When their daughter went missing a second time in 1974, they waited two weeks before calling authorities.
Berchtold continued to abuse Jan until she was 16 and later went on to rape and sexually assault four more girls.
In 1986, he served time in jail after being convicted of the rape of his final victim but was released after just a year for good behavior.
In 2003, Jan was forced to take out a restraining order against him after he showed up to a talk she was giving at Dixie State University in St George, Utah.
She saw him for the final time when the case went to court in 2004. A year later, in 2005, Berchtold – fearful of going back to jail – committed suicide.
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Woman TWICE abducted whose story was made into a Netflix show says she's 'one of lucky ones'