Abducted in Plain Sight – Dude! People Are Nuts

Rating (3.5 out of 5)

Summary: A friend recommended “Abducted in Plain Sight” to my wife, so we gambled precious weekend time on this show available on Netflix. What a pleasant surprise. The documentary is short playing over a mere one hour and 30 minutes. Despite the brevity, the movie efficiently covers the events, interviews of the family and including photos and videos of the events. Your jaw will hang down, you will shake your head, and mumble OMG. I have hundreds of follow-up questions!

Plot: A documentary covering the 2 abductions (yes she was kidnapped twice) of pre-teen Jan Broberg by their neighbor Robert Bertchold in the 1970s.

Detail: The action of the parents completely blew my mind. Naive, gullible, manipulated, it is exceedingly difficult to assess which adjectives adequately describe her parents. You verbalize “Oh No”, as the parents describe many of their actions. Why didn’t you move after the first kidnapping?

As they recount the events, it is apparent what we have learned about victims since the 1970s. There is no indication Jan sought medical help (mental) about her first kidnapping. Today, I assume consulting a doctor is the first step by authorities. Could they have prevented the second kidnapping if Jan simply talked to a doctor?

I agree with many on the show, who indicated the classification of individuals as a pedophile, wasn’t common in the 1970s. Yes, the church and his brother knew he liked little girls, but they apparently didn’t believe he would act on the urges he felt. Watching the “Ted Bundy Tapes”, also on Netflix, the concepts of pedophiles and serial killers were in early stages of development in the 1970s. I guess “Mindhunter” is now on my watchlist.

Unfortunately, the show is only 1 1/2 hours. I craved more information once the show completed. I would have been interested to know more about what happened with the Bertchold family next door? Did Robert Bertchold remain part of the church? Did Jan seek help and did she herself have a successful relationship in her adult life? This is the problem with a movie versus a limited series.