“Abducted in Plain Sight” Review

The documentary Abducted in Plain Sight recounts the sexual abuse of 12-year-old Jan Beoberg in the 70s by her neighbor and close family friend Robert Berchtold. The film goes into detail about Berchtold’s manipulation of Jan and her family, specifically her parents. The Beobergs and the Berchtolds were very close friends, Jan even described Berchtold as a second father to her. He molested Jan for years before he finally kidnapped her and brainwashed her, giving him to the ability to sexually assault her repeatedly. The documentary depicts the Beoberg parents as extremely naïve, as their oblivion and ignoring of blatantly red flags led their daughter to be abused for so many years and kidnapped twice. As a result of her Stockholm Syndrome, she trusted Berchtold and even said she loved him and wanted to marry him.

The film brings awareness to the fact that most children who are sexually abused know their abuser, like how in this case the pedophile weaseled his way into their family to get close to everyone in order to gain access to his target. The footage consisted of interview clips from each Beoberg family member and Berchtold’s brother. While they were describing specific events, there were reenactment clips that gave the audience a more clear understanding of what happened. The reenactment clips were heavily edited to make it look like it was shot in the 70s. It also consisted of many photos of Jan, Berchtold, and the family. The interviews were perfectly strung together to make one coherent story despite being told by so many different people at once. Everything unravels at a consistent pace, giving the audience shocking details often in order to keep eyes glued to the screen.

Abducted in Plain Sight is overall very interesting, yet deeply disturbing, as you learn how a young girl’s childhood was taken away from her by a man that she trusted. It shows that even in small, rural towns like Pocatello, Idaho, child predators still can be who you least expect. It was shocking to see just how preventable this real-life nightmare was. Watching it I learned that you have to be wary of anyone you let spend time with your children. This film covers extremely uncomfortable material and parts of the story are hard to hear. It is a well-told story and has a good message, bringing more awareness to cases like this.