Toronto True Crime Film Festival: Abducted in Plain Sight


The youngest daughter of a naive Idaho family is targeted by their neighbour in Abducted in Plain Sight. On October 17, 1974, 12 year old Jan Broberg was kidnapped by her neighbour Robert “B” Berchtold, who had been friends with her family for the previous two years. The kidnapping is only the beginning of a story of obsession that haunts this family for many years.

Abducted in Plain Sight is a documentary from filmmaker Skye Borgman, which tells the story of the Brobergs, a Mormon family from Idaho, who end up being victims to their own naivety. All the family members, including an adult Jan Broberg, tells the story of this saga, while 16mm style recreations illustrate the events. The story quickly takes a dark turn when the family discovers that Robert Berchtold has a history of being a pedophile and he ends up brainwashing Jan to agree to his sick desires.

Abducted in Plain Sight tells a story that is both unbelievable and quite infuriating. The central story involving kidnapping, pedophilia, and subsequent Stockholm syndrome is bad enough, but it is revealed throughout the film that Robert Berchtold played the family like a fiddle, including some shocking revelations that are made by Jan’s parents. Probably more infuriating in Abducted in Plain Sight was how difficult a time the authorities had prosecuting Robert Berchtold, who was free to continue stalking Jan, even after she returned to her family. Altogether, Abducted in Plain Sight is a documentary that will probably leave you squirming in your seat.

Liked this? Help support Sean Kelly and his writing about film on Patreon!

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).