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"Abducted in Plain Sight" is by far one of the most bizarre and horrifying true crime documentaries currently available on Netflix. The first film told the story of Robert "B" Berchtold, a serial sexual abuser who manipulated an entire family for decades until his eventual suicide. Now, director Skye Borgman is revealing plans for a sequel to the harrowing documentary. What will the follow-up cover and when can we expect its release?
Warning: Spoilers below
Here's the basic premise: Berchtold kidnapped 12-year-old Jan Broberg from her family, whom he was close with, in 1974. Because Berchtold was a trusted friend, the Brobergs did not report the crime for days. Even worse, while absconding with her to Mexico, Berchtold brainwashed Jan that she was the savior of an alien species who could rescue her home planet by mating with a "male companion." Jan was eventually returned, but Berchtold evaded charges thanks to his manipulation of her family. She was then kidnapped again in 1976, after Berchtold had sexual relations with both her mother and father, although she was rescued six months later.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Borgman explained her plans to create a sequel to expand on some of the themes and motifs of the story that were not fully addressed in the first film. For example, Borgman said she had an interest in exploring the role the Broberg family's adherence to the tenets of the Church of Latter Day Saints played in the tale.
Borgman said that she wants “to explore the different topics that we didn’t have time to really dive deep into, like the role that faith plays—maybe not even just L.D.S.—but 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.”
Several other victims had discussed Berchtold's crimes with Borgman but were uncomfortable with telling their stories — which shared striking similariities to Jan's — on camera. Borgman had even doubted Jan's account of extraterrestrial lineage until another victim confirmed that Berchtold had used the same brainwashing strategy on them.
"While we were working on the film one of Berchtold’s other alleged victims reached out to us and told us a story about him using this alien psychology and saying, ‘You’re a princess from a different planet.’ He used this whole alien story on her, and that was the moment for me when I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s real. He did it.’”
The biggest hurdle Borgman now faces is finding funding for the ambitious expansion of her original idea. Because that has not yet been secured, there doesn't appear to be a timeline for the film's eventual release.
Although Netflix is currently streaming "Abducted in Plain Sight," the first film was not produced or distributed by the streaming service. Netflix has not responded to a request for a comment as to whether it would be involved in the upcoming production.
[Photo: Screenshot via Skye Borgman]
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