An abduction of the past: Interviewing Roswell alumni, the producers of Netflix’s Abducted in Plain Sight


Stephanie Tobey and Emily Kincaid, Roswell alumni, produced the Netflix documentary Abducted in Plain Sight. Photo Credit: Emily Kincaid

Smriti Tayal, Director of Design

“Abducted in Plain Sight”, a Netflix documentary, kept viewers on the edge of their seat as it revealed the horrifying story of Jan Broberg’s two-time kidnapping. Inspired by Broberg’s mother’s book, Stolen Innocence, the documentary brought to life the true story of Jan Broberg and her childhood with her abductor/close family friend, Robert Berchtold. The documentary highlights the importance of educating children and parents on how child predators manipulate their targets. The documentary was produced by Emily Kincaid, Stephanie Tobey and Skye Borgman. Emily Kincaid and Stephanie Tobey are Roswell Alumni and I had the honor of interviewing them about the documentary.

Tobey graduated from Roswell in 2000 and Kincaid graduated in 2003. Both live in Los Angeles and are full-time actresses and producers. They were family friends and the two knew each other throughout high school. More than a decade later, Tobey already lived in Los Angeles and, funnily enough, Kincaid happened to move right onto Tobey’s street and the two were reunited. Soon, the two were working on their first project together: “Abducted in Plain Sight”.

Tobey stumbled across the idea to produce “Abducted in Plain Sight” while working as a receptionist for Jason Segel’s manager. Some of her colleagues and herself were talking about the Jodi Arias trials and her colleague mentioned Mary Ann’s Stolen Innocence because of her interest in true crime stories. Tobey devoured the book in a day and felt as if she was “reading Jan to safety”. Tobey met up with Jan Broberg soon after and mentioned that she wanted to do something to raise awareness on the issue of kidnappings. That is when Broberg said Tobey should share her story.

Stephanie Tobey then teamed up with the director of the documentary, Skye Borgman. The two were able to raise enough

The promotion poster for Abducted in Plain Sight. Photo Credit: Netflix

money to go out and do the first set of interviews in Idaho and Utah with Mary Ann and Bob Broberg. They were also able to interview Pete Welsh, the lead FBI agent on the case. He gave them thousands of pages of FBI documents and court transcripts, as well as all the recordings you hear between Mary Ann and Berchtold on the phone, and Berchtold’s diary.

“When we got all that information, it helped us shape our story more, because we only knew the information from the book,” said Tobey. During this time of the process is when Emily Kincaid joined the team. Both Stephanie and Emily were incredibly involved in the production of this documentary. “We were producing on a micro-budget, so we ended up doing different jobs that normal producers might not do,” said Tobey. “We were transcribing all the interviews and scanning all the FBI documents, so we were really involved in all aspects of the production,” explained Tobey.

Emily Kincaid not only produced the documentary but also acted as Gail Berchtold. Photo Credit: Emily Kincaid

Kincaid came on board when most of the interviews were already finished, but still played a major role in the production. “I came on to help mostly with the fundraising and the publicity at film festivals and with the recreations of the scenes with the actors you see in the documentary,” said Kincaid. In fact, Kincaid actually played Gail Berchtold in the film as well.

The documentary is very emotional and will take its viewers through a rollercoaster of emotions. At times it is hard to not cry while watching Broberg’s dad break down into tears as he recounts the story. “We actually had a few small screenings when we finished the film, so the very first time I had ever watched it in its entirety, I lost it. I was so upset,” said Kincaid.

The interviews between the Brobergs and the producers lasted eight hours each and Tobey describes them as “incredibly emotional and incredibly draining.” The interview with Bob Broberg was really his first time properly talking about his side of the story. The night before the interview was when he finally told Mary Ann the whole truth about what really happened with Berchtold. “His interviews were very emotional and so were Mary Ann’s, but we felt the emotions with them and we helped them through it and listened to them,” explained Tobey.

Kincaid and Tobey said it was relieving when the Broberg family hugged them and thanked them for sharing their story after the screening of the documentary in Utah. Taking it back to their days in Roswell, Tobey and Kincaid said they had always known they wanted to go into the film industry. Tobey says one of the reasons for her interest in film is because of her times on set when she would act in commercials for her dad’s company. But she attributes her love for movies as the real reason for her passion.

“I wanted to feel and relate to these characters who were from completely different worlds from me. Acting allows me to experience different worlds and to shed light on interesting topics,” said Tobey. Kincaid started acting and singing at a very young age. Throughout high school she was in show choir and was involved in musical theater. She also attributes her love for acting to her time spent in New York. “We love to live in other people’s eyes and other people’s shoes and acting helps us do just that,” said Kincaid.

Tobey and Kincaid enjoyed their time at Roswell, but they don’t know if they necessarily miss it. “I’d love to go back and relive a couple of weeks,” said Kincaid. Their times at Roswell were filled with being on the swim team or in show choir, going to parties in the middle of fields or newly developed neighborhoods and sneaking back onto campus with a bag of Chick-Fil-A. Even though they were involved and great students, they still had their rebellious side to them.

Rebels can go on to do great things!”

— Emily Kincaid

Being involved in many clubs helped define the person they are today.“Working in groups and learning how to work in a team and working through a difference of opinions definitely helped me. As well a learning disappointment from such a young age,” said Kincaid. To students aspiring a career in the arts, Kincaid’s best piece of advice is “Don’t give up, keep going, even if people don’t believe in you. Be confident in yourself and what you have to offer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because you are in control of your own fate.” Tobey’s best piece of advice is to “not wait for the job. Constantly create your own opportunities and find projects that you’re excited to work on.” “Abducted in Plain Sight”, produced by Stephanie Tobey and Emily Kincaid (Roswell Alumni), is available to watch on Netflix now.