‘Abducted in Plain Sight’ filmmaker opens up about Pocatello-based documentary, says sequel is likely
Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers for the “Abducted in Plain Sight” documentary.
IDAHO FALLS — A sequel is likely in the works for a stunning documentary based in eastern Idaho that recently exploded on Netflix.
“Abducted in Plain Sight” tells the story of Jan Broberg, a Pocatello teenager abducted in the 1970s by her neighbor, Robert Berchtold. Berchtold befriended the Broberg family and ran away with their youngest daughter to marry her in Mexico.
And that’s just the beginning.
“I was just so amazed by the book and what Jan had been through that I was absolutely willing and wanted to tell her story,” Borgman tells EastIdahoNews.com during a conversation from her California home. “It’s just one sort of event after another after another. People have said it’s so crazy that it has to be real because nobody could ever write something like this.”
It took Borgman and her team three and a half years to complete the documentary. They conducted on-camera interviews with detectives who investigated the case and spent countless hours with the Broberg family.
One of the most shocking revelations in the film comes from Jan’s father, Bob Broberg. He admits to having a sexual relationship with Berchtold, and Mary Ann also confesses to an affair with Berchtold. Berchtold threatens to expose the sexual secrets if the parents don’t agree to drop kidnapping charges against him.
“When Bob talked to us about his relationship with Berchtold, he had never really talked about that in any kind of public way before,” Borgman says. “The family hadn’t informed us about that before we came into the interviews, and we were able to find out a lot of the details through court transcripts and FBI documents.”
“Bob had carried this incredibly heavy burden around with him for 40 years, and I think it was really cathartic for him to talk about it,” Borgman continues. “He was so emotional…and I think he really knew what an important piece of the story it was. I felt he was incredibly brave to talk about it.”
The documentary first premiered at film festivals in 2017 and was released on Netflix in January. It’s full of twists and turns and candidly addresses the issue of child sexual abuse.
A common myth at the time Jan was abducted, and even today, is that strangers are the main perpetrators of sexual abuse. But, according to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 93 percent of those convicted of child sex crimes are known to the victim, while 7 percent of perpetrators are strangers.
“It is usually someone we know, someone we trust, that’s doing the majority of the abuse,” Borgman said. “Our hope is that this starts the conversation in the home about child sexual abuse. Even now, watching the firestorm that has been created on social media — you can see the conversation starting.”
With the success of the “Abducted in Plain Sight” documentary, Borgman is looking at ways to continue the story. She tells EastIdahoNews.com that her team is “talking to a lot of people right now” about a sequel.
“I think there are a few different ways of approaching a sequel. We could talk about it in terms of themes and maybe somebody else’s stories, (or) we could further delve into stuff with the Brobergs’ story,” she said. “There are a lot of different paths that we’re looking at, but I’m certain we’re going to find the best path and be able to deliver something else to our audience.”
Watch the video above for our in-depth interview with Borgman.