Jan Broberg made headlines after the release of the true crime documentary "Abducted in Plain Sight," which told the story of how a family friend kidnapped her twice over several years, first when she was 12 and again at 14.
Broberg is now back in the spotlight with the release of "A Friend of the Family," a Peacock series based on the true story of Broberg's abductions, and how family friend Robert "B" Berchtold, her kidnapper, was able to abuse, manipulate and gain the trust of her entire family.
Ahead of the show's release, Broberg told TODAY she hopes viewers are able to understand the humanity in and around every character in the new drama series, as opposed to the fast-paced nature of the 91-minute documentary, which aired on Netflix in 2017.
"I had a wonderful childhood until I was 12. My parents, we ate dinner together. We talked about everything. We were loved unconditionally," Broberg told TODAY. "By the time the documentary came out, it was stunning to me that there was so much blame misplaced."
"There's one bad guy in my story and it's the predator," she continued. "My parents were naive, but they were not uncaring. They were not trying to do anything wrong, and that's what I wanted to come through in this long form telling of the story — so that people could relate."
Broberg and her mother, Mary Ann Broberg, were producers on the show — but this isn't Broberg's first foray into the television and movie scene. Here's what to know about Broberg's story, and what she is up to now.
The true story of the Broberg family and what happened to them
The Brobergs' story was the focus of the 2017 documentary "Abducted in Plain Sight."
In the documentary, directed by Skye Borgman, Broberg narrated the story of how Berchtold moved to their neighborhood in Idaho in the 1970s, became a friend of the family and gained their trust.
Berchtold kidnapped Broberg for the first time when she was 12 and took her out of the country to Mexico. During the abduction, Berchtold informed Broberg they were part of an alien mission and that she was chosen to have his child. If she didn't comply by age 16, he told her that her and her family would die.
Broberg's parents didn't immediately report their daughter as missing, as they trusted Berchtold and believed his car may have broken down on the way back from a horseback riding lesson.
After Broberg had been missing for over a month, the FBI arrested Berchtold on kidnapping charges in Mexico, retired agent agent Peter Welsh says in the documentary. Broberg was taken back to her parents in Idaho. Broberg told the Idaho State Journal that Berchtold pleaded he had a mental illness and spent a few months in a mental facility before he returned to Idaho.
Berchtold kidnapped Broberg again several years later, but Broberg said in "Abducted in Plain Sight" that by the time she was 16 and none of Berchtold's alien-related threats came true, she realized it was all a lie.
Berchtold was also able to have sexual encounters with both of her parents, Broberg has said, which he used to guilt and shame them, and exact further control over her, as well as her entire family.
Jan is an author and an actor
Broberg told TODAY that at one point, her entire family decided they were ready to tell their story.
“We’ll be completely exposed. We’ll be completely vulnerable. We’ll be completely honest,” Broberg said. “That’s when my mom started writing the book and interviewing me, and now we have ‘The Jan Broberg Story.’”
Broberg published "Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story" along with her mother in 2003, which detailed the abuse and manipulation Berchtold inflicted upon her.
"Abducted in Plain Sight" was released over a decade later in 2017, but made waves once it was added to Netflix in 2019.
After publishing the book with her mother, she went on a book tour, where Berchtold attempted to enter one of the events in St. George, Utah, ABC News reports. Berchtold was arrested on charges of simple assault, criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct, but he was released on bail, according to ABC News.
Berchtold denied the allegations leveled in Broberg’s book.
Broberg has since pursued a career in acting and the film industry. She's appeared in TV shows and movies like, "Maniac," "Criminal Minds" and "Iron Man 3," according to IMDb.
Jan Broberg produced 'A Friend of the Family'
Broberg told TODAY she was initially cautious of a drama series about her story. "I knew we had to have fantastic actors to actually embody these characters fully," she said.
But showrunner Nick Antosca approached her to be a producer on the series, and she commended and the rest of the cast and crew for telling her story with all of the context.
"With these actors, and this production team who cared about the bigger purpose of telling my story, which is to raise awareness and prevention," Broberg said. "For people to have hope that they can heal after such terrible trauma, and for families to talk and stop hiding their story in the shadows."
In “A Friend of the Family,” Broberg is portrayed by McKenna Grace and Hendrix Yancey, and “The White Lotus” star Jake Lacy plays Berchtold. Colin Hanks portrays Jan’s father, Bob, and Anna Paquin portrays Jan’s mother, Mary Ann.
The first six episodes of “A Friend of the Family” premiere on Peacock on Oct. 6, with additional episodes releasing weekly (Peacock is part of TODAY’s parent company, NBC Universal).
"This way of telling the story allows the audience to become involved — to see themselves — so they can stop it in its tracks," Broberg told TODAY of the new series. "If they notice something that is amiss in their own life — it's not a big red flag. It's just some spidey sense for you know, 30 seconds."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com