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True Crime

Girl in the Picture on Netflix: Who was Sharon Marshall and where is Franklin Floyd now?

It's one of the most shocking true crime cases we've ever heard of...

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Girl in the Picture is the latest compelling true crime documentary to land on Netflix, unravelling the mystery of Sharon Marshall and her so-called father and later husband Franklin Floyd.

The harrowing tale examines the tragic case of a woman known as Sharon Marshall.

Sharon was kidnapped as a child, and raised by her abductor, paedophile Franklin Floyd.

As if that wasn’t sickening enough, Franklin later married Sharon and they raised a child together.

The trailer (below) tells us: “This is more than just a crime story.

“This beautiful woman was trapped in evil.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the 30 year mystery at the centre of Girl in the Picture on Netflix.

***Warning: contains disturbing and upsetting details of abuse***

Sharon Marshall with her abductor Franklin Floyd
Sharon Marshall with her abductor Franklin Floyd, as featured in Girl in the Picture (Credit: Netflix)

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Who was Sharon Marshall?

Sharon Marshall was born Suzanne Marie Sevakis on September 09 1969.

In 1975, when she was just five, she was kidnapped by her stepfather Franklin Floyd.

Franklin had been briefly married to her mother Sandi Chipman.

That year, mum Sandi served a 30-day prison sentence after writing a bad cheque for nappies.

While she served her sentence, her third husband Franklin disappeared taking all four of her children with him.

These were Suzanne Marie Sevakis, later to be renamed Sharon Marshall, her two sisters and her infant brother Phillip Brandenburg  (also known as Stevie).

When Sandi was released, she found two of her daughters in foster care, but her daughter Sharon and her son were gone.

She tried to file charges against Franklin for kidnapping, but the police claimed he had the right to take the children as he was their stepfather.

Franklin subsequently raised ‘Sharon’ as his daughter even though there was no biological relation.

He registered her under an alias in an Oklahoma City high school in 1975.

At school, Sharon Marshall “was a brilliant and beautiful student at the top of her class whose future was filled with promise”.

Remarkably, she earned a full scholarship to Georgia Tech University to study aerospace engineering.

Why did Sharon Marshall leave school?

However, in a jaw-dropping twist, Franklin stopped her from going to uni when she unexpectedly got pregnant.

Instead, Franklin Floyd forced her to move to Tampa, Florida, where she began working as an exotic dancer.

The documentary tells us: “He took her around strip clubs to make a living for him.”

After the pair relocated to Florida, Franklin Floyd made Sharon change her name once again, this time to Tonya Dawn Hughes.

At some point, Franklin married Sharon, the woman he had bought up as his daughter.

She welcomed a son, named Michael, soon after their wedding, but the son was not Franklin’s.

After the birth of her son, the family moved once again, this time to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

What was Sharon Marshall’s real name?

Sharon Marshall’s true identity remained a mystery until 2014.

In that year, she was positively identified as Suzanne Marie Sevakis.

Suzanne was the daughter of Franklin Floyd’s first wife.

After abducting her, Franklin changed Suzanne’s name to Sharon Marshall.

Sharon Marshall Girl in the Picture
Girl in the Picture on Netflix: Sharon Marshall had no idea she’d been abducted by the man she went on to marry (Credit: Netflix)

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What happened to Sharon Marshall?

In March 1995, a mechanic found a large envelope stuffed between the bed and the top of the gas tank of a truck he had recently purchased at auction.

There were 97 photos in the envelope, including many photos of a bound and severely beaten Cheryl Ann Commesso (see below).

The truck was traced back to Franklin Floyd.

Among the photos were depictions of Sharon Marshall being sexually abused, going all the way back to age four.

This was indeed the proof police needed that Franklin has sexually abused Sharon from a young age, as well as abducting her and depriving her of her real identity.

It’s strongly believed that Franklin murdered his ‘wife’ Sharon when she tried to escape him.

Police believe that Floyd killed her, but are unable to find enough evidence to try him for the murder.

Reports suggest that Sharon had tried to leave Floyd and run away with a college student she was having a secret relationship with, named Kevin Brown.

How did Sharon Marshall die?

In April 1990, Sharon Marshall was found dead in a suspicious hit-and-run.

She was just 20 at the time of her death.

Sharon had gone out on a late-night shopping trip for baby items for her son Michael Anthony Hughes.

However, she was murdered on her way back to the motel where she was staying.

She appeared to be hit by a car, but there was blunt-force trauma to the back of her head not consistent with a car accident.

Police continue to investigate whether Franklin was the culprit.

He has not been charged with the crime.

A young Franklin Floyd
A younger Franklin Floyd who went on to become a murderer, rapist and death row inmate (Credit: Netflix)

What happened to Sharon’s son Michael?

Sharon’s son Michael Hughes was just two years old when his mother died.

Floyd Franklin kidnapped him and placed him into foster care.

The foster parents eventually started adoption proceedings and adopted him.

Reports say he was developmentally delayed but eventually thrived in their care.

At the same time, Franklin Floyd was arrested for a parole violation.

The adoption process required a DNA test, which revealed that Franklin Floyd was NOT the biological father of Michael.

When Franklin Floyd was eventually released from jail, he tried unsuccessfully to regain custody of Michael.

In a shocking turn of events in September 1994, an armed Franklin Floyd entered Michael’s first grade class at his elementary school and kidnapped him by force.

The terrifying incident sparked a manhunt for Franklin Floyd.

Police searched for Floyd and Michael for weeks, and Floyd was eventually arrested after two months in Louisville, Kentucky.

There was no sign of Michael anywhere.

In a 2015 interview with the FBI, Floyd admitted to shooting and killing the little boy on the day he kidnapped him.

He said he had shot Michael twice in the back of the head, and informed the FBI where they could find his body.

However, no remains were ever recovered.

Where is Phillip Brandenburg now?

Sharon’s brother Phillip remained missing until 2019.

That year, a man came forward believing he could be Phillip.

DNA tests subsequently confirmed his identity in 2020.

The young boy had been privately adopted and was spared the horrors of his sister.

Franklin Floyd
Franklin Floyd kidnapped victim Sharon Marshall, bought her up as his daughter, and then married her (Credit: Netflix)

Who is Franklin Floyd?

Franklin Delano Floyd was born June 17 1943, in Barnesville, Georgia.

His father died of liver failure when he was just one years old.

After struggling financially, his mother sent his siblings to Georgia Baptist Children’s Home where he lived for most of his childhood.

According to the book A Beautiful Child, Franklin Floyd suffered sexual abuse by the other children at Georgia Baptist Children’s Home, and faced years of abuse by the staff.

Franklin left the home at 16, and tried to enter the army.

However, the army discharged him after six months after discovering he’d lied about his age and faked his paperwork.

Later that same year, he committed his first crime when he broke into a department store and attempted to steal a gun.

Police shot him in the stomach, and he was rushed into emergency surgery.

So began his life of crime, one which included rape, child molestation, murder, and kidnap, among others.

Paedophile Floyd was a fugitive for almost two decades and was “an expert in concealing his identity”, according to the trailer of Girl in the Picture on Netflix.

Police found him guilty of murdering at least one woman – Cheryl Ann Commesso – and the abduction of two-year-old Michael Anthony Hughes.

Floyd is also considered a person of interest in the 1990 hit-and-run death of his second wife Sharon Marshall.

Is Franklin Floyd still alive? Where is he now?

Franklin Delano Floyd is currently on death row in the US.

He is 79 at the time of writing.

A judge convicted him of the 1989 murder of Cheryl Ann Commesso, a mother of three from Florida.

Cheryl Ann Commesso was an exotic dancer, who had worked alongside Sharon Marshall.

She disappeared in 1989.

A landscaper found her skeletal remains in Florida in 1995.

Franklin had beaten her and fired two lethal gunshots to her head.

Franklin was also convicted of kidnapping six-year-old Michael Anthony Hughes (Sharon’s son).

While a jury found him guilty, the judge sentenced Franklin Floyd to the death penalty.

Sharon Marshall as a baby
Sharon Marshall as a baby, unaware of the horrors that lay in wait for her (Credit: Netflix)

What else was Franklin Floyd convicted of?

In 1962, Franklin Delano Floyd was convicted of abducting and molesting a 4-year-old child in Georgia.

After one year, he escaped prison and robbed a bank.

He was captured and released on parole after 10 years.

Within one month he was charged with assaulting a woman.

Girl in the Picture on Netflix

The documentary retells the disturbing details of Sharon Marshall – a woman found dying by the side of the road.

Her death, which left behind a traumatised son, eventually revealed that she’d been living a lie for decades.

All thanks to her twisted abductor-turned-father-turned-husband.

Franklin Floyd went on to subsequently kidnap Sharon’s son.

The mystery unfolds like a nightmare, and eventually blows open a decades-long mystery about the woman’s true identity, and the murderous federal fugitive at the centre of it all.

The tagline of the film reads: “Her identity was a mystery to everyone. Even her.

Skye Borgman directed the film.

Netflix fans will know her work from the series Trial by Media, and the brilliant 2017 TV film Abducted in Plain Sight.

Abducted in Plain Sight explored the case of 12-year-old Jan Broberg, who was kidnapped by a neighbour and friend Robert Berchtold – not once, but twice!

Sharon Marshall
Sharon Marshall was born Suzanne Marie Sevakis, but she had no idea she’d been abducted (Credit: Netflix)

Is Girl in the Picture based on a book?

Netflix’s Girl in the Picture is inspired by two books written by award-winning investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck.

He wrote A Beautiful Child and its sequel Finding Sharon about the bizarre and tragic story of Sharon Marshall.

Writer Matt Birkbeck appears throughout the Netflix film.

The 2004 book A Beautiful Child told the story of the woman known as Sharon Marshall and her s0-called father Franklin Delano Floyd.

The sequel Finding Sharon in 2018 is a memoir about his 10-year effort, along with the FBI and National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, to find Sharon’s true identity.

In a trailer for the documentary, Matt Birkbeck states: “In 2002, a friend sent me a photograph.

“It was a picture of a little girl, and her father.

“The more you look at the picture, and the more you look at her, you can see something was terribly wrong.”

How many episodes is Girl in the Picture on Netflix?

Girl in the Picture is not a series.

It’s a feature-length documentary film.

It runs at 1 hour 41 minutes.

When does Girl in the Picture stream on Netflix?

Girl in the Picture streams on Netflix from Wednesday July 06 2022.

It is likely the film will remain on the streaming service indefinitely.

Is there a Girl in the Picture podcast?

There is a five-part podcast to accompany the film, also titled Girl in the Picture.

It’s part of the You Can’t Make This Up podcast series on Apple.

The audio series will go even deeper into the tragic life of Sharon Marshall, and her death and address all of the questions surrounding the 30-year mystery.

The first two episodes will be available from Friday July 6.

The other three episodes will arrive every Wednesday on the podcast.

Girl in the Picture streams on Netflix from Wednesday July 6 2022.

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