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Crime News Cold Cases

What Happened To Kidnapping Victim Michael Hughes From Netflix’s 'The Girl in the Picture'?

Michael Hughes was the son of kidnapping victim Suzanne Marie Sevakis, who was eventually also kidnapped and killed by the man who abducted his mother.

By Gina Tron
A NamUs handout of Michael Hughes

There are many victims at the heart of Netflix’s new documentary “The Girl in the Picture.”

One of the many connected to the case was Michael Anthony Hughes, a young boy whose mother was mysteriously killed.

"Tonya Hughes," Michael's mother, was working as an exotic dancer in 1990 when she was brought to an Oklahoma City hospital. A man who identified himself as Tonya's husband, Clarence Hughes, said she'd been struck in a hit and run crash; she died shortly thereafter.

Clarence's real name, though, was Franklin Delano Floyd, a fugitive wanted by federal authorities after breaking parole on bank robbery charges 17 years earlier. And his relationship with "Tonya" was simply twisted.

Tonya's real name was Suzanne Marie Sevakis. Floyd, who was going by the alias Brandon Williams at the time, married Suzanne's mother, Sandi Chipman in 1974. But while Chipman was serving a 30-day sentence for writing bad checks in 1975, Floyd kidnapped her four children: Suzanne, a boy and two girls. He put the boy up for adoption and left Suzanne's younger sisters with a local social services agency, according to the docuseries. He kept Suzanne, though, who was around 5 at the time.

Over the next several years, he passed Suzanne off as his daughter. He was going by Warren Marshall and Suzanne became "Sharon Marshall." According to the docuseries, Suzanne suffered sexual abuse and after several more years, Floyd was presenting her, not as his daughter, but as his wife. It was during this period that she had a son, Michael, and Floyd likewise presented himself as the father.

Following her death, authorities eventually discovered that "Clarence" was, in fact, Floyd. Furthermore, Michael, 2, wasn't Floyd's biological son. Floyd was arrested and eventually lost custody of the boy, as The Oklahoman reported in 2016. 

Michael was then put into the care of foster parents, Ernest and Merle Bean, who adored him so much that they wanted to adopt him, as they noted in the documentary. Their adoption paperwork was underway when Floyd kidnapped the boy from his elementary school in 1994, when Michael was 6 years old.

Floyd walked into the school and abducted the school principal and Michael at gunpoint in September 1994. He then left the school principal handcuffed to a tree and disappeared with Hughes. 

When he was arrested — without the boy — he claimed that the child was still alive. As seen in the documentary, Floyd had all sorts of stories to explain the boy’s whereabouts, even claiming that he gave Michael to a rich person.

"He is placed where his dad deems to be in his best interest," he said, speaking of himself in the third person, in 1995, according to the Oklahoman. "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."

Floyd was sentenced to 52 years in federal prison for Michael’s kidnapping in 1995. And while  investigators held out hope that the boy was alive, they deep down assumed that he was likely not.

That was confirmed in 2014, when Floyd was interviewed by the FBI while on death row for the murder of Cheryl Ann Commesso, a friend and neighbor of Suzanne's when they lived in Florida. Floyd killed her in 1989, but was only convicted in the case in 2002.

He admitted that he'd killed Michael the same day that he abducted him. “I shot him twice in the back of the head to make it real quick,” he told the feds with no remorse, according to The Oklahoman.

Floyd remains on death row in Florida. 

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