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In 1990, a man calling himself Clarence Hughes brought a severely injured woman into an Oklahoma hospital, claiming that she had been struck in a hit and run.
He said she was his wife, Tonya Hughes. She died shortly thereafter.
While the woman was, at least on paper, his wife, her story was vastly more complicated, as the new Netflix documentary “Girl in the Picture” details. Years before Tonya's death, Clarence had claimed she was his daughter. Before all of that, though, she was his stepdaughter and then kidnapping victim.
Tonya Hughes, née Tadlock, was born Suzanne Marie Sevakis and had three siblings. "Clarence Hughes" — whose real name is Franklin Delano Floyd but who was using the alias Brandon Williams at the time — married her mother, Sandi Chipman, in 1974.
In 1975, when Chipman was serving a 30-day sentence for writing bad checks, Floyd kidnapped all of her kids. He put Chipman's son up for adoption — he wasn't found until 2019 — and left Sevakis’ two younger sisters with a local social services agency. He took off with Suzanne, who was then around 5 years old.
Floyd began posing as Sevakis’ father, calling himself Warren Marshall, all while sexually abusing her, according to the documentary. He told everyone that her name was Sharon Marshall.
Those who spoke to the documentary producers described her as bright, smart and mature beyond her years. In high school, she was in the gifted program, Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and the science club. She also always stood up for social outcasts.
“She always went for the underdogs,” Sherry Fortson-Baily, her former classmate at Forest Park Senior High, recalls in the documentary.
Lynn Clemons, who said "Sharon" was his best friend in high school, noted that she brought light into his years of school in the midst of the severe bullying he faced. She’d frequently leave loving notes for him in his locker.
Sevakis wanted to be an aerospace engineer and she wanted to go to Georgia Tech, where she was accepted on a full scholarship. But, she never went: She got pregnant and, according to the documentary, Floyd forced her to give up her college admission, have the child and put it up for adoption. Sevakis and Floyd then moved to Tampa, where she worked as a stripper at Mons Venus strip club, had another child and made a friend, a fellow stripper and neighbor named Cheryl Ann Commesso.
Floyd eventually fatally shot Commesso inside his home at the Golden Lantern trailer park near Pinellas Park, where he lived with Sevakis and her son, Michael Hughes, though her remains until years later along Interstate 275, according to the Tampa Bay Times. After the murder, the three fled and Floyd and Sevakis, who had until then continued to live as "father-daughter," got married in New Orleans and became husband and wife.
Floyd, though, was actually a fugitive the whole time: He'd broken parole on federal bank robbery charges and had been on the lam for 17 years when Sevakis died. Floyd lost custody of Michael Hughes following Sevakis' death, as The Oklahoman reported in 2016, and briefly returned to prison. When he got out, despite DNA tests showing he wasn't the boy's father, Floyd kidnapped 6-year-old Michael Hughes at gunpoint from his school in 1994, along with the school principal. He then left the principal handcuffed to a tree and disappeared with the boy.
Michael Hughes' body has never been found. Floyd was arrested months later and convicted on kidnapping charges. While in prison for the kidnapping, he was charged with and convicted of the murder of Cheryl Ann Commesso, whose remains were discovered in 1995. In 2014, while on death row, Floyd admitted to murdering Michael Hughes shortly after kidnapping him, and to kidnapping Sevakis. He has yet to admit to any role in her death.
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