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Cheryl Ann Commesso is one of the many victims at the heart of a disturbing case revisited in the Netflix documentary “Girl in the Picture.”
Commesso, described as vibrant and beautiful young woman in the documentary, had competed in a beauty pageant as a teen, the Tampa Bay News reported in 1997.
"She was a smart child," her aunt, Joyce Haughom told the outlet. "But you know kids get into things. . . . She wanted to grow up fast."
Commesso, who as an adult had dreams of modeling and posing for "Playboy," was known for her beauty, her style, her big hair, her kindness and for her red Corvette, which she drove through the Golden Lantern trailer park, near Pinellas Park, where she lived.
"She was so nice," neighbor Michelle Cupples said in the documentary. She said that when she would wave to her, "somebody that pretty, it just made you feel good that somebody of that style and class was saying hi."
But she never got a chance to achieve her big dreams.
She was working as a dancer at the World Famous Doll House strip club in Orlando when she met a woman, Tonya Dawn Tadlock, who worked at the Mons Venus strip club in Tampa and the two became fast friends.
Tadlock lived with a man named Clarence Marcus Hughes, who was supposedly her father, in the same Pinellas Park trailer park as Commesso. Witnesses noted in the documentary that Hughes appeared to be sexually preying on Commesso — and his daughter, Tadlock. A witness also later noted that Hughes had physically attacked her.
In 1989, Commesso was reported missing. Shortly thereafter, the trailer in which the Hughes and Tadlock lived in was set ablaze, according to the documentary. Hughes, Tonya and her 2-year-old son, Michael, fled around the time of Comesso's disappearance.
Hughes and Tadlock — the supposed father and daughter — then got married in New Orleans in 1989. In 1990, Clarence — whose real name, police discovered, was Franklin Delano Floyd — brought Tadlock to an Oklahoma City hospital with head injuries. He claimed she had been struck in a hit and run crash; she died shortly thereafter.
Floyd, police eventually determined, was a federal fugitive, wanted by authorities for breaking parole on bank robbery charges 17 years earlier. He lost custody of Michael Hughes — who it was also later determined was not his biological son — as The Oklahoman reported. However, after his release, Floyd kidnapped then 6-year-old Michael and the school principal at gunpoint from the boy's elementary school in 1994. He left the school principal handcuffed to a tree and disappeared with Hughes.
The boy's body has never been found. Floyd, however, was, and was charged with the child's kidnapping.
Commesso’s skeletal remains, meanwhile, were discovered in March 1995 in near Insterstate 275 in St. Petersburg, when a worker from a landscaping crew found a human skull in a swampy area. The worker then found silicone breast implants nearby, according to court records. "A bikini-type bathing suit top was found in two separate pieces" and a "pair of pants had been cut into pieces which were tied together. A crime lab analyst "gave his opinion that the items had been separated by use of a double-bladed implement." She had been beaten and shot twice in the head.
She was identified in 1996. Floyd was charged with her murder in 1997, according to court paperwork. He was convicted of her murder in 2002.
Floyd admitted to murdering Michael Hughes in 2014 while on death row for Commesso’s killing — and revealed an equally shocking fact: Tonya Hughes, his supposed wife, was actually Suzanne Marie Sevakis, the daughter of his former spouse Sandi Chipman, whom he'd kidnapped in 1975 at around 5 years old.
He is still on death row.
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