Abducted in Plain Sight director finally answers all your burning questions
Like someone explain the whole damn thing please
Abducted in Plain Sight. It's the true crime documentary that has got everyone shouting at their screens and getting stressed over other people's naive parenting. It had us all asking the same questions, mainly – how on earth was it allowed to happen?! But now finally, the director of the show, Skye Borgman, has come through and answered some of the burning questions you have about the Netflix documentary. Here are your Abducted in Plain Sight answers, I hope it helps you sleep at night.
All the Abducted in Plain Sight answers you need:
1. Why did Jan's parents seem to literally not notice Robert Berchtold's weird behaviour?
In the documentary, one of the most frustrating things is that Jan Broberg's parents seemed to turn a blind eye to the blatant weirdness of Robert Berchtold, known as "B". The FBI told them to stay away and they didn't, the neighbours all hated him, he even told them about his disturbing past, and they did nothing.
Now Sky Borgman, the director of Abducted in Plain Sight, answers this question everyone had. She told Vulture: "I think it’s just absolute denial. I really do. The shame they feel [about] the affairs they had threw them into such denial. Between the time Jan was 16 and 21 — when they weren’t really talking about this stuff at all, when they hadn’t realised any of the sexual abuse — I think they literally were able to convince themselves that if Jan’s not telling us about this, it didn’t happen."
2. Why did Jan's parents ignore the FBI and stay in contact with B and his family?
One of the most aggravating parts of the doc, there were many, was that no matter how many times the FBI warned Jan's parents Bob and Mary Ann that B was not to be trusted and a danger to their daughter, they remained in touch with him – and so did Jan. Even after he had taken her to Mexico and abused her. So, why?
Sky Borgman said: "I think it really has to do with the fact that they placed so much faith in experts, in doctors who said there has been no sexual abuse because her hymen hasn’t been broken.
"They didn’t have any real concept that anything else could be sexual abuse. It was purely penetration, really, that they thought was sexual abuse. So if a doctor said, “There’s been no penetration,” they’re like, “Okay, she’s fine. She’s fine.” That’s part of the denial as well".
3. WHY did the Broberg's seem to trust B no matter what?
"The Brobergs didn’t really think of it as him kidnapping [Jan], even though he took her without their knowledge, this is where I think the depth of the brainwashing really comes in, Mary Ann loved him, or thought that she loved him, and just couldn’t see what had really happened. He came back and was still saying, “I love you, Mary Ann. I think you’re great. You’re beautiful.
"It didn’t really dawn on her that he could also be attracted to a 12-year-old little girl. And again, doctors had said nothing happened. So I think they thought he had just had a little mental breakdown. But again, it’s that denial. Even though I think somewhere deep inside they knew something was wrong, they just couldn’t see it."
4. And obviously, everyone wants to know all about that handjob moment
Sky Borgman said: "There had been kind of a manifesto that Berchtold himself had written. We had a few pages of it, and it mentioned something about a relationship with the dad. I had kind of dismissed it, which was a big mistake and a great learning lesson for me. And then, when we got these transcripts from the two hearings that they had gone through, they had talked this masturbatory event in the car. I said, “Oh my gosh, it’s true.” The pieces started to fall together, in terms of what he did to these two parents to blackmail them.
"When we went for the interview with Bob, I wasn’t sure if I was going to ask him about it because nobody in the family had mentioned anything. I wanted to, but I didn’t know if I was crossing a line with him. So throughout the course of the interview — it was eight or ten hours long — I was asking him about their relationship and how much [Berchtold] meant to them as a friend. And then, he told us about the event in the car. It was the first time that he’d ever admitted anything publicly. We talked to Mary Ann the next day, and she said that he’d never gone into detail with her about what exactly had happened. And he talked to her that night about it."
5. Did it happen more than once?
"We asked him. We looked in the court transcripts. We tried to find that out, and the answer is we could never really figure it out for sure. [The car] is the only time that he remembered it happening, but this is a story that happened 45 years ago. There are always memories that you can alter by just believing that they were different, so I don’t have a good sense of if it continued. But I think it may have happened more than once. I really don’t know for certain if it did, and I don’t know that it really would have made all that much difference. I think that Bob Broberg would have felt as much guilt if it happened once or if it happened twice."
6. So, is Bob Broberg gay?
Sky Borgman told Vulture this wasn't something she had posed to Bob, but he has spoken about it. "Right. He never talked about that. I mean, he says that he’s not. He chose very certainly to stay with the church and to stay with his family. And that was something that he was very committed to. Both those things are the two most important things, really, in his life. Church and family."
7. How on earth did Mary Ann Broberg have an affair with Robert Berchtold after all he had done?!
"I really think that Mary Ann was in love with Berchtold. It had started before the first kidnapping, and he had made her feel beautiful and made her feel attractive. They were 13, 14 years into a marriage, and so it’s that time where probably Mary Ann and her husband aren’t having all that much sex anymore. And Berchtold comes along and makes her feel sexy again."
8. What happened to Robert Berchtold's 'family fun centre'?
In another seemingly ridiculous moment in the documentary, it was revealed that B had gone on to buy a family fun centre, despite being a convicted sex offender and serial kidnapper. But what happened to the centre?
Sky Borgman said: "He had it for maybe a year and a half or two years, and then sold it and ended up moving away and doing something else. He was constantly trying to put himself into positions where he was surrounded by children and families. And that’s very, very common with people who are pedophiles. They’re the teachers, they’re the cops, they’re in positions where they can surround themselves with children. These positions that we think of as having trustworthy people in them, it’s worth it to question that."