Where is Robert Berchtold Now? What Happened To Him?

Recently, Robert Berchtold became known to many through the Netflix documentary and a fictionalised series streamed on Peacock. This goes beyond the typical crime-thriller case, as Robert Berchtold was never a normal criminal, to put it straight.

By all accounts, he is a master manipulator with the patience of a predator waiting to pounce on his prey. Broberg, who first shared the true story of her kidnapping in the documentary Abducted in Plain Sight, spoke about the new Peacock series she helped make. She said it has helped her heal. 

When she was 12 and living in Idaho in the 1970s, a close family friend and neighbour who was decades older, Bob Berchtold, drove off with her one day. He told Broberg’s parents he was taking the child horseback riding.

Berchtold managed to keep her captive with an elaborate ruse. He claimed that aliens had abducted them. He convinced them that Jan needed to cooperate with the aliens’ demands if she wanted her family to stay safe.

Interestingly, Berchtold did not just kidnap Broberg once. The man entrapped Broberg’s religious parents in such an elaborate web of trust and shame that he managed to convince the family to drop the most serious charges against him.

They continued to let him spend time with their young daughter. Later, in the most shocking twist of all, he kidnapped her a second time when she was 14.

How Did a Man Get So Close To The Family and How Did All This Start? 

This twisted tale began in the early 1970s. It was in the small town of Pocatello, Idaho. Robert befriended Bob Broberg and his wife, Mary Ann Broberg. The man quickly infiltrated their family unit and cosied up to their young daughter, Jan Broberg. 

Berchtold and the Brobergs were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Now, he used this to ingratiate himself into the Broberg family.

Although he was a father to five children of his own, he spent a great deal of time with the Brobergs and with Jan in particular. Through grooming tactics, Berchtold tried to convince Jan. He said that she needed to get pregnant by him to save an alien planet from extinction. He brainwashed her, saying she was their chosen one. 

This eventually led to her kidnapping in August 1974. Jan was drugged by Berchtold while en route to a horseback riding lesson and taken to Mexico. While held captive, Berchtold threatened Jan.

He told her the aliens would kill her entire family if she didn’t do what she was told. Berchtold’s wife convinced her family not to call the FBI. The family agreed and waited for several days. They were all under his spell. 

Did She Tell the Truth to Her Family?

Berchtold kept Jan in Mexico for five weeks. He repeatedly raped her during this period. When the FBI eventually tracked them down, even she was frightened to share details of the abuse. She did not even speak about the possible alien abduction that Berchtold used to control Jan for the next four years.

Jan’s father never let Berchtold back in the house or return to her life. Her father knew something was wrong with him. But Jan never said anything to him. He did not know that Berchtold molested his daughter or raped her. This was because Jan was not telling.

Throughout the years, Jan worked up the courage to tell her parents what happened. She was not being able to talk definitively or explicitly about the sexual abuse. Berchtold disappeared, and for the next 10 years, Jan sought counselling. Eventually, things got better, and she was slowly able to put her life back together.

Where Did Robert Berchtold Go?

Thirty years after the Broberg family met Robert Berchtold, Jan was a working actor. She was in a recurring role on the WB’s hit show Everwood. In October 2003, Jan’s mother, Mary, wrote a book titled Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story. The book detailed her daughter’s harrowing abuse at the hands of Berchtold. 

Robert Berchtold showed up at a women’s conference Jan was hosting with her mother in St. George, Utah. The book brought him out of hiding. The common thought goes like this: He was desperate.

It was because he knew the story had come out. Berchtold spoke with ABC News and told him that wasn’t why he was there. Now, the series on the OTT platforms is quite a spotlight on the case.

Also read: What Happened to Karlie Guse? Was She Found in 2022 or is She Still Missing?