‘Girl In The Picture’s Tonya Huges Was Forced To Marry Her Adopted Father

Photo credit: Netflix - Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix - Netflix

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Netflix has built up a rep for churning out terrifying (and fascinating) true crime documentaries, and there’s a new one that’s already got people talking: Girl in the Picture. The documentary details the shocking crimes committed by the murderer and kidnapper Franklin Delano Floyd.

The documentary explores Floyd’s story and dives into the death of Tonya Hughes, (who is the girl in the picture). The film is based on the book, A Beautiful Child: A True Story of Hope, Horror, and an Enduring Human Spirit, which was written by an investigative journalist looking into Tonya's death and true identity, as well as her strange relationship with Floyd.

This documentary, which dropped on July 6, covers a lot. And the real story is so convoluted and unsettling that it can be hard to follow at times. So it's understandable to have questions about Tonya Hughes and her backstory. Here’s what you need to know:

Who is Tonya Hughes?

Tonya Hughes is the kidnapped daughter-turned-wife of Franklin Delano Floyd...More on that in a second. She was born on Sept. 6, 1969 in Michigan, according to the FBI.

Growing up in Atlanta, she went by the alias Sharon Marshall. She was popular and did well in school, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "Teachers remember Sharon as a popular teenager who excelled in school. She ran for junior class office and had glamour shots made for her poster," the newspaper reported.

She also had an unusual relationship with her father—a friend, Jennifer Tanner, told the newspaper that Floyd was “obsessed” with her, took a lot of pictures of her, and often talked about her beauty. He also bought her lingerie.

The paper reported that Tonya went on to win a scholarship to Georgia Tech but became unexpectedly pregnant and fled to Alabama to be with her boyfriend. But, one morning, the boyfriend woke up to find a note from Tonya that said her dad had taken her away.

Tonya eventually had a son named Michael and started working in a strip club. There, she met Cheryl Ann Commesso, who Floyd would later murder.

What was Tonya's real name?

Tonya went by several aliases, which seem to have been dictated by Floyd, including Tonya Dawn Tadlock, which was the name used in reports when she died. But her real name (a.k.a. the one her real parents gave her) was Suzanne Marie Sevakis, per the FBI.

How was she related to Franklin Floyd?

Well, she wasn’t actually related to Floyd. Instead, she was the daughter of a woman Floyd was briefly married to named Sandi Chipman. In 1975, Floyd married Chapman using a fake alias and kidnapped her four children—including Tonya—while Chapman was briefly jailed, the documentary explains. Floyd released three of the children, but kept Tonya and raised her as his daughter.

Floyd would later force her to marry him, per the Tampa Bay Times, and she died under mysterious circumstances just before turning 21.

What happened to Tonya Hughes?

Tonya was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Oklahoma City in 1990 and died five days later from her injuries, according to the FBI. At the time, she was going by the name Tonya Hughes.

Floyd, who was going by the name Clarence Hughes at the time, said that he had been back at a motel where he was waiting for her, per the Tampa Bay Times. Investigators discovered that "Clarence Hughes" was actually Floyd, a fugitive. In fact, her old classmates identified "Tonya" as Sharon, and "Clarence" as her father, Floyd, The Daily Beast reported.

After Tonya's death, Floyd went on the run again.

The new Netflix documentary suggests that Floyd may have been involved in her death due to the unusual evidence they uncovered.

Did she have any children?

Yep. Tonya had one child, her son Michael Hughes, who was put in foster care after her death, the documentary explains. (Michael is not related to Floyd, BTW.) But Floyd eventually turned up at Michael’s elementary school in 1994 with a gun, abducted him, and shot him, the FBI says.

Has Michael Hughes ever been found?

Michael's body has never been found. Floyd later confessed that he was pushed “over the edge” by the fact that Michael was acting like a “typical 6-year-old,” according to FBI Special Agent Scott Lobb, who worked on Marshall’s case in 2013 out of the FBI’s Oklahoma City Division. “Floyd felt the pressure and he just ran out of patience,” Lobb said. “He turned and looked at me and said, ‘I shot him twice in the back of the head to make it real quick.’”

While Floyd confessed to the murder of Michael, he has not confessed to murdering Sharon, whose death still remains a mystery, per the FBI.

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