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Oxygen Book Club's December 2022 Pick Lets Kidnapping Victim Jan Broberg Tell Her Own Story

Jan Broberg was abducted twice by the same man, a friend of her family's, as a child.

By Becca van Sambeck
The Jan Broberg Story by Jan Broberg

Oxygen Book Club highlights books in the crime sphere each month and features exclusive interviews, guided discussions, and more.

It's a story that seems too wild and bizarre to be true.

In the 1970s, the Broberg family grew close with their neighbors, the Berchtold family. The patriarch, Robert Berchtold, was like a father figure to young Jan Broberg. But by the time she was 15 years old, he would abduct her twice.

After telling her family he was taking her horseback riding, Berchtold kidnapped her on Oct. 17, 1974, when she was 12 years old, and fled to Mexico in a motor home, according to ABC News. He brainwashed her into believing aliens wanted them to conceive a child and sexually abused her. She was rescued five weeks later, but Berchtold remained close with her parents, manipulating them, too. He kidnapped her again in 1976, and it took four months for her to be rescued that time.

Jan Broberg's story has been told in podcasts, crime shows, and even the Peacock series "A Friend Of The Family," a fictionalized take on the case starring Jake Lacey and McKenna Grace. Now, Broberg is telling the story in her own words in "The Jan Broberg Story: The True Crime Story of a Young Girl Abducted and Brainwashed by a Friend of the Family," a memoir she co-authored with mother Mary Ann Broberg. 

In the book, which is Oxygen Book Club's December 2022 pick, Jan dives into the kidnappings, the abuse, and the manipulation as well as how she was able to recover from the trauma Berchtold inflicted. It's a moving and emotional story you won't forget.

Read "The Jan Broberg Story: The True Crime Story of a Young Girl Abducted and Brainwashed by a Friend of the Family," with Oxygen Book Club, and keep an eye out for our video interviews with the author, as well as guided discussion questions. Happy reading!

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