In the new series, the kidnapping of Jan Broberg shows how Robert ‘B’ Berchtold convinced the victim that she was an alien

THE strange kidnapping of Jan Broberg by a ‘master manipulator’ who pretended to be a family friend to get close to her has been investigated in a new series.

A Friend of the Family follows how charming church leader Robert “B” Berchtold, played by Jake Lacy, wormed his way into the Broberg family – and the bizarre lies he concocted to brainwash 12-year-old Jan so he slept with him.

Jan Broberg was groomed by Robert Berchtold


Jan Broberg was groomed by Robert BerchtoldPhoto credit: Netflix
Jan Brobreg is played by Mckenna Grace in the new series (pictured)


Jan Brobreg is played by Mckenna Grace in the new series (pictured)Photo credit: peacock
Jake Lacy plays Robert'B' Berchtold in a scene from the limited series "A family friend"


Jake Lacy plays Robert ‘B’ Berchtold in a scene from the limited series ‘A Friend of the Family’Credit: AP

One of those horrific lies involved convincing Jan that she and Berchtold were aliens who needed to have sex in order to continue their race.

Incredibly, despite kidnapping Jan at age 12 in the 1970s, Berchtold was allowed back into the Broberg family home — only to kidnap her a second time two years later.

The new series is about how Jan’s parents let their daughter’s kidnapper back into their lives – and the strange relationship they had with Berchtold.

“It’s easy to judge the Broberg family story from the outside,” showrunner, executive producer and writer Nick Antosca told Parade.

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“I hope people come out of the show with a deeper understanding of family and say, ‘Back then, in this place, they were like me.

“They made terrible mistakes, but they loved their children. And a master manipulator took advantage of them.”

Berchtold was an Idaho church leader who grew close to the family, eventually leading to the Broberg children calling him “B” and even “Dad.”

The connection was an attempt by Berchtold to kidnap Jan.

Berchtold manipulated Jan’s parents, Mary Ann and Bob Broberg, into allowing him to sleep in the same bed as them as a form of therapy for him.

He claimed he was abused as a child and that this is the only thing that can help him.

But over a period of six weeks, he used this opportunity to molest and groom the young girl, eventually drugging her and taking her to an RV in the Mexican desert 2,000 miles from her home in Idaho, USA.

There he forced Jan to marry him but was able to convince her that they were both aliens and needed to have sex to save the alien race.

He brainwashed her into thinking that if she didn’t, her sisters would have to or the rest of her family would go blind or die, leading Jan to comply.

Thirty-five days after she was last seen, Berchtold called his brother Joe to let him know that he and Jan had married in Mexico, where the legal age was 12, and Joe immediately passed this information on to police.

The Brobergs eventually located Jan in Mexico, as Berchtold needed her consent to the marriage in order to re-enter the United States.

They refused and Berchtold returned to the United States with Jan, where he was charged with kidnapping.

Shockingly, after Jan returned, the twisted pedophile abducted her a second time after her parents – whom he had threatened and manipulated – forgave him and welcomed him back with open arms.

Fearing what might happen to Berchtold if people found out, Jan remained silent about the abuse.

Jan and Berchtold wrote letters and talked on the phone, which eventually led to them having sex on a number of occasions.

Not only Jan was the focus of Berchtold’s twisted affection.

He also persuaded Bob to masturbate in front of him and began a dirty affair with Jan’s mother, Mary Ann.

Berchtold was able to use these sordid details to blackmail the family into demanding less jail time for him.

He only served 10 days for the kidnapping.

In 1976, Berchtold kidnapped Jan again under the guise that she had run away.

He enrolled her in school in California until he was caught and arrested again.

Berchtold was court-ordered into a mental institution and remained there for six months before being released, serving just over a month in prison for all his crimes.

The family applied for a stalking restraining order in 2004 when Berchtold continued to stalk them and tried to get in touch with Jan – he was arrested in 2005 for not complying with the terms and also charged with possession of an illegal weapon.

Faced with further prison sentences, he killed himself.

Meanwhile, Jan was unable to speak out about her abuse for another two years after returning home.

She also believed that aliens were real until she was about sixteen when she found out the truth.

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Jan has since written a book and embarked on a speaking tour of her story.

The series debuts on Peacock tonight.

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues addressed in this story, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. In the new series, the kidnapping of Jan Broberg shows how Robert ‘B’ Berchtold convinced the victim that she was an alien


DevanCole is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DevanCole joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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