Where are Robert and Gail Berchtold’s Family and Children Today?

After watching the true crimeA Friend of the Family, on Peacock, many viewers want to know what happened to Robert and Gail Berchtold’s children after the kidnappings. In the 1970s, their father, Robert “B” Berchtold (portrayed by Jake Lacy), kidnapped and sexually assaulted young Jan Broberg when she was 12 (Hendrix Yancey) and again at 14 (McKenna Grace). Gail (Lio Tipton) took her children and left before the second kidnapping. Here’s everything we know about Robert and Gail Berchtold’s family today.

‘A Friend of the Family’ changed the names of the Berchtold children

A family photo of Mary Ann Broberg, Jan Broberg, Bob Broberg and Jan's sisters, Karen and Susan for 'A Friend of the Family'
‘A Friend of the Family’: Anna Paquin as Mary Ann Broberg, Elle Lisic as Young Susan Broberg, Hendrix Yancey as Young Jan Broberg, Mila Harris as Young Karen Broberg, and Colin Hanks as Bob Broberg | Peacock

“They have three boys, one Jan’s age, one Karen’s age, one Susan’s age, and a baby girl,” Mary Ann Broberg (Anna Paquin) tells her husband, Bob Broberg (Colin Hanks), in A Friend of the Family.

In the series, the Berchtolds had three boys — Jasper, Joel, and Jacob — all close in age to the three Broberg girls — Jan, Susan, and Karen. The Berchtold family also had a baby girl when they met in the Peacock dramatization.

However, in real life, the Berchtolds had five children, all names beginning with the letter “J,” but the producers changed their names in A Friend of the Family.

According to Robert Berchtold’s obituary from a Utah newspaper (via Reddit), he and Gail’s five children are Jerry, James, Joseph, Jeff, and Jill. 

Gail and Robert Berchtold divorced after the 1974 kidnapping of Jan Broberg

Before Nick Antosca created A Friend of the Family, filmmaker Skye Borgman released an extensive documentary about Jan Broberg’s kidnappings. In 2019, Netflix renamed the documentary, Abducted in Plain Sight and dropped it to the streaming giant. In an interview with Jan Broberg about the documentary, Abducted in Plain Sight, she revealed that Gail and Robert divorced shortly after the kidnapping.

“By the second kidnapping she had filed for a divorce,” Jan told Entertainment Tonight. “She divorced him and took her kids and moved.”  

Robert eventually remarried. He and Deanna Lou Wiley married at the Pineview Reservoir, Utah, on July 17, 1990. There are rumors that Gail Berchtold also remarried, but she wishes to remain private about her life today. 

Robert Berchtold died Nov. 11, 2005. According to ABC News, he attended a women’s conference that Jan Broberg and her mother, Mary Ann, hosted in 2004. Robert denied the allegations that the two women shared in their book. At the conference, he allegedly attacked a person from Bikers Against Child Abuse. The police arrested Robert on charges of simple assault, criminal trespassing, and disorderly conduct. However, they released him on bail. According to BBC News, Berchtold died by suicide before his sentencing.

Gail and Robert Berchtold’s children remain private today

Similarly to Gail, she and Robert’s children wish to remain private. Not much is known about their life after the kidnappings. They continued to live with their mother, but their father likely had visitation rights. It’s unknown whether the Berchtold children continued to spend time with Robert as they grew into adults. 

Jerry Curtis Berchtold married Tina Louise Hyatt on May 11, 1984, in Salt Lake City, Utah. As of Robert’s death in 2005, he and Tina resided in Roy, Utah.

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‘A Friend of the Family’: McKenna Grace Reveals Jan Broberg Was Her Most Difficult Role Ever

James Ersol Berchtold resided in Las Vegas, Nevada when his father died. Joseph Ersol Berchtold married Shawna and lived in Henderson, Nevada, then. James and Joseph might be the two children who continued to see their father since Robert also lived in Nevada until he died in 2005. However, that’s speculation based on their proximity.

According to his father’s obituary, Jeff Archie Berchtold lived in Ogden, Utah. Meanwhile, Jill Berchtold was married to Richard Scott, and the couple resided in Utah when Robert Berchtold died.

Robert Berchtold lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, until 1997, when he and Deanna moved to Logandale, Nevada.

A Friend of the Family premieres on Peacock on Thursday, October 6, with four episodes. The remaining five episodes will drop weekly on Thursdays through November 10.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.