Netflix’s Abducted In Plain Sight has left viewers feeling confused, disgusted and shocked towards the events and many of the people involved, but a deleted scene is changing people’s opinions about it.
The true crime documentary follows the story of Jan Broberg, who was abducted not once, but twice by a trusted family friend named Robert “B” Berchtold.
Without giving too much away, there are many baffling moments throughout the programme, including an unbelievable therapist’s recommendation, a confusing sexual encounter between two fathers, and the fact Jan’s parents waited days to contact the police after their daughter first went missing.
The second time the young girl disappeared, Jan’s parents Bob and Mary Ann appeared to do very little to get her back, despite being in fairly regular contact with her over the phone.
However, Abducted In Plain Sight director Skye Borgman revealed there were some details left out of the story to allow it to be told in 90 minutes, and one particular moment proves the family actually went to some lengths to take down the man who had torn their lives apart.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Borgman explained how at one point Mary Ann and her brother took a gun and met up with Berchtold in a car park. Though they obviously didn’t kill Jan’s kidnapper, who committed suicide in 2005, it shows how they didn’t stand idly by as the documentary sometimes suggests.
Like 20 minutes in to abducted in plain sight and what??!! What is wrong with the parents?? Why did they let him sleep in her room for 6 months??? Why did they take so long to call police after she was taken??!!!!
— Laura J Bowler (@emeraldbee2000) February 19, 2019
Just watched Abducted in Plain Sight and I’m extremely confused. Why weren’t Jan’s parents jailed for child endangerment? There was clearly proof that they continued to allow their daughter to have a relationship with a man convicted of kidnapping her.
— Amira Rasool (@AmiraRasool) February 19, 2019
The director explained how ideally she’d like to make a follow up to the documentary, ‘to explore the different topics that we didn’t have time to really dive deep into, like the role that faith plays… in sheltering communities.’
Also grooming and brainwashing—there are really interesting, intricate things that happen, and we touch on both of those topics in the documentary, but I’d love to explore those more. I guess in a perfect world, it’d be sort of a trilogy of films.
Many people on social media have criticised Jan’s parents for the way they handled the entire situation, but in an interview with Vulture, Borgman explained how they had convinced themselves their daughter hadn’t been sexually abused by her kidnapper.
They convinced themselves of that, even though so many people [and] the FBI said that this is something that happened.
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.”
While Borgman’s depiction of the story allows viewers to form opinions, we will never really be able to comprehend what Jan and her family experienced with Berchtold.
The director and the family simply hope Abducted In Plain Sight will make audiences ‘aware of how people can enter our lives, and we need to protect our children a little bit more’.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.