Netflix's new true-crime documentary, Girl in the Picture, has recently left audiences "horrified".
Netflix has grown a reputation for sharing unusual and intriguing true crime stories and The Girl in The Picture is certainly one of the most compelling.
This true story centers on the case of Tonya Hughes and soon becomes a complicated tale of forged identity, fake personas, and abuse.
We learn throughout this eerie case that Tonya Hughes was never Tonya Hughes. She had previously been known as Sharon Marshall, although that, too, was not her real name.
This story is about a woman whose life was overtaken by the man who called himself her step-father and then her husband. It’s a mysterious case that lasted for decades until investigators uncovered her true identity in 2014.
Per the Independent, The Girl in the Picture's real name was Suzanne Marie Sevakis and she was born on September 9, 1969, in Michigan, and was one of four children born to her mother Sandra Willet.
Her mother was struggling with PTSD when she met Franklin Delano Floyd. He had promised to look after her and her children, but things went downhill when she was sentenced to 30 days in jail after using a bad check at a convenience store.
The story of the young girl's demise began soon after that. After Willet was taken into custody, Floyd, who was a known fugitive, dropped off two of Willet’s daughters at an orphanage, abducted Suzanne, and began to raise her as his daughter.[[imagecaption|| Franklin Floyd and Suzanne Sevakis. Credit: FBI.]]
Viewers find out in the documentary that Suzanne's life as Tonya was one troubled by manipulation as her father figure-turned-husband forced her to work in a strip club to make money.
The mysterious case then begins to unravel more after Suzanne was found dying on the side of the road in 1990 which led to Floyd becoming the lead suspect in her death after she was killed in a suspicious hit-and-run at the age of 20.
In 1990, following her death, Suzanne's son Michael, born in 1988, was placed in foster care with Merle and Ernest Bean. A DNA test then revealed that Floyd wasn’t Michael’s biological father.
On 12 September 1994, Michael was abducted after Floyd pulled a gun in the young boy's classroom. Floyd also abducted the school's principal.
The authorities were soon alerted after the principal was found tied to a tree in a remote location. An investigation into Michael’s kidnapping ensued.
This uncovered more red flags about the circumstances of his late mother, who at this time was still known only as Tonya, as investigators learned more about her identity.[[imagecaption|| Suzanne Sevakis’s son Michael Hughes. Credit: Netflix]]
Through news coverage of Michael’s kidnapping, a woman named Jenny Fisher was perplexed as she identified the woman on television as her former high school best friend, whom she knew as Sharon Marshall.
"Sharon" is remembered by high school friends in the documentary as an ambitious student, who dreamed of being an aerospace engineer but never continued with school as Floyd forced her to move to Tampa, Florida, with him after she got pregnant.
In 1995, Floyd was eventually found guilty by a judge of having abducted Michael Hughes and handed a prison sentence. He told the investigators what happened to Michael and said he murdered him on the same day he kidnapped him.
In 1997, he was charged with the first-degree murder of Cheryl Ann Comesso, a friend of Suzanne who had also worked at the strip club.
In 2002, Floyd was convicted and sentenced to death for Comesso's death five years later. Today, He remains in custody at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida.[[imagecaption|| GIRL IN THE PICTURE, Sharon Marshall. Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy.]]
Despite the documentary shedding light on Suzanne's tragic life, the FBI still considers her death suspicious and unsolved, writing on her website: "That’s the one thing Floyd won’t talk about".
Suzanne’s parents, Sandra Willet and Clifford Sevakis, are both still alive and shared their stories in the Girl in the Picture. She also had another biological daughter named Megan DuFresne who learned about her life through the documentary.
DuFresne felt outraged after hearing the shocking revelation and said: "No girl should have to go through that," adding: "From a stranger, much less somebody that’s supposed to be her father, father figure, whatever the hell he was."
Girl in the Picture is available to watch on Netflix now.