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Peacock’s latest true crime adaptation “A Friend of the Family” is based on the alleged kidnappings of Jan Broberg by Robert Berchtold, who she affectionately calls “Brother B” in the series. But here’s the thing: Robert wasn’t actually related to the Brobergs by blood, or even marriage. In fact, he was their neighbor, who went by “B” since Jan’s father, played by Colin Hanks, was also named Robert.
And since the Brobergs and Berchtolds were devout followers of the Mormon faith, which views its congregants as the daughters and sons of the Heavenly Father, they referred to each other as “brother” and “sister” to reflect this belief.
And so, he was named Brother B.
Even though Brother B wasn’t related to the Brobergs, he treated them like they were his own family, especially young Jan.
The preteen spoke affectionately about Brother B in her diary, writing in an April 1973 entry, according to the Deseret News, “Today I am sick. Brother B brought me over a cute paint set and some sampler chocolates. He said he would do anything for me, and he would, too."
Brother B would go on to allegedly kidnap Jan before fleeing to Mexico. He then managed to convince Jan’s parents, Mary Ann and Robert, to sign an affidavit stating they gave him permission to travel with Jan.
Jan’s parents eventually cut ties with Brother B after he abducted her for a second time. He convinced prosecutors he had a mental defect and served 19 days in prison, before serving five months in a mental health facility, according to the Desert News.
Streaming now on Peacock, “A Friend of the Family” is based on this baffling series of events.
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