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Netflix’s ‘The Girl In The Picture’ Highlights Theory That Sharon Marshall’s Son Is Still Alive

Franklin Floyd, Sharon Marshall, Michael Hughes

Netflix’s newest true crime documentary, “The Girl In The Picture,” has shed new light on the case of Sharon Marshall, a woman who mysteriously died in 1990, leaving behind a man claiming to be her husband and her son.

As the shocking case unfolded it was revealed that her husband, Franklin Delano Floyd, was actually a man who kidnapped her as a child and raised her as his own daughter before marrying her later in life.

After Marshall, who was going by the name Tonya Hughes at the time, died in a hit and run in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1990, Floyd was identified as a suspect. 

Floyd then placed Marshall’s son, Michael Anthony Hughes, in foster care and fled the state. In 1994, as his foster parents started the process to adopt the boy, DNA testing revealed that he was not Floyd’s biological son, foiling Floyd’s attempts to get custody of him.

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On September 12, 1994, Floyd kidnapped Michael from an Oklahoma elementary school. Floyd was arrested in Kentucky two months later but Michael was never found.

In the decades since, investigators have grappled with conflicting accounts what happened to the 6-year-old, including a theory put forward by Floyd for many years that claimed Michael was still alive.

How did Michael Anthony Hughes die?

In a 2014 interview with the FBI, Floyd admitted to murdering Michael on the day he kidnapped him. He died after Floyd shot him twice in the back of the head, the death row inmate claimed.

Floyd said he was driving from Oklahoma City to Dallas when the child’s unruly behavior pushed him to commit this heinous act.

“Michael was being a typical 6-year-old. He was out of control, and that pushed Floyd over the edge,” revealed Special Agent Scott Lobb after reopening the cold case and interviewing Floyd.

“Floyd felt the pressure and he just ran out of patience,” Lobb said of the moment Floyd confessed. “He turned and looked at me and said, ‘I shot him twice in the back of the head to make it real quick.’”

At the time of the confession, Floyd was serving a sentence for Michael’s kidnapping and the 1989 murder of Cheryl Ann Commesso, a woman who worked with Michael’s mother, Sharon Marshall or Tonya Hughes, as an exotic dancer in a club. 

Franklin Delano Floyd initially claimed Michael Hughes was still alive.

For over a decade after his arrest, Floyd claimed that Michael was living outside the United States or in the Atlanta, Georgia or Kansas City, Missouri areas.

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"He is placed where his dad deems to be in his best interest," he said in a statement after being sentenced in 1995 to 52 years in federal prison for the kidnapping.

"It's none of your business where he is, nor do I care how much any of you in Oklahoma miss him or love him."

Lobb said that, while initially interviewing Floyd, the inmate stuck with this claim before eventually admitting to the murder.

"We had to break through that facade, that wall, and get him to where he confessed to what he did with the boy," Lobb said. "He was [saying] the same thing ... 'Michael was married to a government attorney living in the Kansas City area. Michael was safe in a foreign country.' There were a couple of other stories that were just far-fetched."

Franklin Delano Floyd’s sister previously claimed Michael had died by drowning.

The investigation into the kidnapping initially revealed that Floyd reportedly told his sister he drowned the child in a bathtub in a Georgia motel in 1994.

Other witnesses stated that Floyd told them he murdered Michael in the same manner, while another person claimed he saw Floyd bury Michael's body in a cemetery.

Michael Anthony Hughes's body has never been found.

By the time the FBI received Floyd’s confession, after reopening the cold case, it was too late to gather evidence of the boy’s murder.

Floyd told Lobb he buried the boy near the last interstate exit leaving Oklahoma and heading toward Dallas.

This lined up with a call made to police on the day of the kidnapping by a person who saw a suspicious man with a young boy at an Oklahoma interstate rest area near the Texas border.

Even after narrowing the search, the FBI determined that Michael’s remains were likely to have been entirely decayed or eaten by animals.

Investigators did search for evidence of the two shell casings, or possibly metal eyelets from Michael’s sneakers. 

However, no such evidence was uncovered in the 2,000-square-foot area.

Sharon Marshall’s real identity was revealed to be Suzanne Sevakis.

As part of the interviews, Lobb quizzed Floyd on the hit and run death of his wife and her true identity. 

Floyd eventually revealed that Marshall’s real name was Suzanne Marie Sevakis, the daughter of a woman to whom he was briefly married.

After Marshall’s mother was imprisoned, Floyd left two of her children in a home before kidnapping Marshall.

While investigators have suspected that Floyd killed Marshall because she was trying to leave him, he has never admitted to this crime and her death remains unsolved.

“That’s the one thing Floyd won’t talk about,” Lobb said.

Floyd, now 79, remains on death row.

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Alice Kelly is YourTango’s Deputy News and Entertainment Editor. Based in Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.

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