What Is The Story Of Robert Berchtold? Latest Updates

robert berchtold

Robert Berchtold courted the Broberg family between 1972 and 1976 to become close to Jan, their 12-year-old daughter, whom he would later kidnap and marry.

On October 17, 1974, in the quiet town of Pocatello, Idaho, a sinister plot unfolded. Berchtold, Jan Broberg’s neighbor, hatched a nefarious plan.

It all began innocently when Berchtold offered to collect Jan from her piano lessons. Little did they know, this kind gesture was the start of a horrifying ordeal.

They embarked on a seemingly simple horseback riding adventure. Berchtold surreptitiously drugged the unsuspecting 12-year-old, rendering her vulnerable and under his control.

This calculated move was meticulously orchestrated to deceive others, making it seem like a kidnapping.

The distressing incident’s precise details still send shivers down one’s spine.

It serves as a reminder of the darkness that can lurk in seemingly ordinary scenarios and the importance of remaining vigilant and protective of our loved ones.

The Brobergs’ grooming by Robert Berchtold

It appeared like a match made in heaven when the Berchtolds and Brobergs first met at a church session. The parents enjoyed one another’s company as the children played together.

Everyone had a best friend, as Jan Broberg later remarked in the film Abducted In Plain Sight.

With time, the Broberg kids began referring to Robert Berchtold as “B,” and Jan had begun to consider him to be a second father. 

Berchtold was particularly fond of Jan, 12, and frequently showered her with gifts and extended invitations to outings.

In hindsight, Jan Broberg has described Berchtold as a “master manipulator.” From the very beginning, Robert Berchtold skillfully gained the trust of Jan’s family, his subtle grooming going unnoticed at the time.

It all started when Berchtold invited Mary Ann to a Church retreat in Logan, Utah, where he began to flirt with her.

Their relationship quickly escalated, moving beyond mere friendship.

Around the same time, Berchtold referenced his dissatisfying s*x life with his wife while driving with Bob Broberg.

Bob observed a noticeable change in Berchtold’s behavior as he became more s*xually forward.

Desperate for appeasement, Berchtold turned to Bob for “relief.” Bob, sadly, agreed, unknowingly cementing Berchtold’s hold over them all.

Later, Berchtold said, “I went into a homos*xual relationship with her father to have access to Jan. I was obsessed with Jan. I’m not sure why I did, but I did.

Making a minor’s kidnapping look like an alien encounter

Berchtold received a rebuke from the High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in January 1974, just over a year after he first met the Brobergs, for his engagement with another young girl.

He consulted with a counselor and a clinical psychologist after receiving criticism to, in his words, help him get over his fixation with Jan. 

However, he described to Bob his difficult upbringing, which included having s*x with an aunt when he was just four years old.

Berchtold stated he was listening to a series of cassettes intended to help control his urge, but he also asserted that to help him overcome his fixation, he would need to spend more time with Jan.

He informed the Brobergs that he must use Jan’s bed for the night.

Robert Berchtold slept in Jan’s bed around four times a week for the next six months.

Welsh, though, said, “They were duped in a terrible, terrible way.” The individual Berchtold saw had his license revoked, making him ineligible to practice psychology. The strange, erotic messages on the tapes prompted him to picture being handled and caressed”. 

All of this culminated in Jan Broberg’s initial kidnapping by Berchtold in 1974.

What he did do after picking up Jan from piano lessons?

After picking Jan up from piano lessons, Berchtold drugged her, hauled her into his motorhome, and shackled her wrists and ankles with straps to his bed. He then set up a small device to play a recording.

The tape was a “message” from Zeta and Zethra, two aliens who informed Jan that she was part alien and had to perform “a mission” to conceive with Berchtold before turning 16 years old.

While traveling in his RV to Mexico, where the legal age of marriage was only 12, Berchtold repeatedly violated Jan.

35 days after the kidnapping, Berchtold called his brother Joe and asked him to get in touch with Bob and Mary Ann to seek their OK to travel back to the United States with Jan and get married there. 35 days earlier, Berchtold had wed Jan Broberg in Mazatlan.

Following a tip from Joe to the FBI, Berchtold was located at a hotel in Mazatlan, where he was detained and flown back to the United States.

Continued blackmail, lies, and manipulations by Robert Berchtold

Mary Ann took Jan to the doctor after getting Jan back, and the doctor said they didn’t find “any signs of s*xual trauma.” 

This meant that the Brobergs’ daughter had not been s*xually assaulted by Berchtold.

However, Jan revealed that Berchtold had only exercised caution. 

She stated she doesn’t remember “violent r*pe,” but that she used to simply observe the leaves. It’ll be fine if you just gaze at the leaves.

Jan was distant at home. She worried that she wouldn’t be able to complete the “alien’s” assignment because her parents were keeping her apart from Berchtold.

Just before parting ways, Berchtold informed her that the aliens had contacted him and instructed him to tell Jan not to discuss the expedition or reach out to any other individuals.

If she did, her dad would be slain, her sister Karen would become blind, and Susan would be kidnapped in place of her, he said.

The idea was unsettling, Jan remarked. It was the driving force behind my obedience.

Then, on Christmas Eve, Gail Berchtold went to the Brobergs’ house and gave them affidavits to sign, pleading with them to drop any accusations against her husband. 

She argued that if they didn’t, the s*xual encounter between Bob and Robert would be well known.

The order of the court

The court had no way to show that Berchtold was guilty of anything without the Brobergs testifying. He relocated to Utah to work for his brother after escaping from prison.

Despite their separation, Jan and Berchtold remained in touch. He sent her love letters and a set of cryptic instructions for their meeting. 

As a child, Jan thought they were in love and their goal still needed to be finished.

Similarly, Berchtold fabricated a tale about vacationing with Jan but becoming trapped in Mexico and being unable to depart until they tied the knot.

He contacted Mary Ann regularly, confessed his love to her, and invited her to a meeting with him in Utah so they could discuss everything.

Later, Berchtold relocated to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he acquired a family amusement park. Jan asked her parents to let her spend the summer working with Berchtold.

Mary Ann bought Jan a plane ticket and sent her to Berchtold after she threatened to get there on her own. Bob remembered telling her, “Dear, you’ll regret that decision someday.”

The second kidnapping

Bob Broberg and Mary Ann Broberg had intercourse with one another before Berchtold did the same with them.

In a letter, the Brobergs said that they would not sue Berchtold and claimed that the kidnapping was a “misunderstanding.”

Jan Broberg said in the documentary that she started to think she was in love with him and wanted to get married to him for real. Berchtold kept seeing the family and continued to groom her. 

In 1976, he abducted her once more and claimed to be her biological father and a CIA agent while enrolling her in a school under a phony name.

When the FBI recovered Jan Broberg and brought her back home, she continued to believe in her “mission” of being with Berchtold and having his children. However, at the age of 16, she realized that she had been misled and that her family was safe.

She then disclosed to her family the abuse she had experienced at the hands of Berchtold.

Despite being accused of twice kidnapping Jan Broberg and abusing her s*xually, Berchtold was never held accountable for these crimes.

After he met with the Broberg family, he did serve a year in prison for the r*pe of one child.

When Jan Broberg and her mother published their book, Jan Broberg proceeded to court to obtain a restraining order against Berchtold, who had sued them and declared the book to be false in public. 

The injunction was given to Jan Broberg for the rest of Berchtold’s life.

How did Robert Berchtold fare?

Jan published a book on her relationship with Robert at the beginning of 2004, much to Robert’s displeasure. 

Later, he denied Jan’s assertions and asserted that their connection was only platonic. He did, however, acknowledge that his relationship with the young girl had gone too far.

Robert blamed his atrocities on mental illness and cited his upbringing as the cause of his actions.

After receiving a prison sentence, Robert Berchtold chose to end his life by consuming a bottle of heart medication mixed with milk and Kahlua.

In the first episode of her role as executive producer on the show A Friend of the Family, Jan stated that she hoped her experience would serve as a warning to other families.