aOn a stormy April night in 1990 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, three men were on their way to a hotel when they saw shoes in the middle of the road. She was blue, in high heels, wrote journalist Matt Birkbeck later in the book Lovely baby. Two hundred feet later, the men made a startling discovery. “There, on the edge of the road,” Birkbeck wrote, “he looked like a young woman lying in the gutter, her body convulsing, and her arms and legs trembling in different directions.” She was taken to the hospital, where her husband, who went along with Clarence Hughes, identified her as Tonya Hughes.
The woman died a few days later from her injuries. Her death sparked a string of discoveries, all chronicled in the new Netflix documentary girl in the photo. We learned that Tonya Hughes was never Tonya Hughes. She was formerly known as Sharon Marshall, although that was also a pseudonym. The documentary, one title after another, tells the story of this woman, her husband, and his crimes – which included the kidnapping and murder of her young son, as well as the murder of another woman. It is the story of a woman who has lost her name, and whose life is overtaken by the man who called himself her father and husband. It’s the unraveling of a mystery that lingered for decades until investigators finally revealed, in 2014, the woman’s true identity.
Her real name was Susan Marie Sivakis. It’s hard to tell her story in a linear fashion. It started in 1969 with her birth. It began in 1974, with her kidnapping by Franklin Floyd, the man who later called himself Clarence Hughes. It all started with her death in 1990, after which people started putting her story together. It all began in 1994, when the kidnapping of her son by Floyd led to further scrutiny of Susan’s life and identity. It begins, and it begins, and it begins, and it does not end — not until 2014, when her family and all those who searched for her true identity found an end in bringing back the name Susan.
Susan Marie Sivakis was born on September 6, 1969 in Michigan. Her mother, Sandra Willett, is a participant in girl in the photo, says she was suffering from PTSD after a tornado hit the trailer she was living in with her children when she met Floyd. He vowed to “take care [her] And the [her] The kids,” but they started doing “scary things,” like carrying a knife with him at all times and telling Willett, “Do you think you’re going to leave me?” It just doesn’t happen.” One day, Willett needed to buy diapers for her children and wrote a bad check at a convenience store. She was sentenced to 30 days in prison.
“That was when I took my kids,” Willett says of Floyd in the documentary. She says that when she went to the police, officers asked her if she was legally married to Floyd, and when she answered in the affirmative, she was told she would have to handle the situation herself.
While Willett was serving a prison sentence in 1974, Floyd dropped two of Willett’s daughters into an orphanage and left with Susan. She will not be known as Susan again for another 40 years.
In 1990, after Susan’s death, her child Michael (born in 1988) was placed in the care of adoptive parents, Merle and Ernest Bean. A DNA test showed that Floyd was not Michael’s biological father. On September 12, 1994, Floyd pulled a gun on Michael’s school principal, entered the boy’s class, and kidnapped both the boy and the principal. The manager was left tied to a tree in a secluded place. Eventually someone finds him and contacts the authorities, which leads to an investigation into Michael’s kidnapping – which in turn will expose more red flags about the circumstances of his late mother, who at this time was still known only as Tonya.
While investigating Michael’s kidnapping, authorities learn that his real name is Franklin Floyd, and that he had previously kidnapped a girl, robbed a bank and attacked a woman. By the time authorities tied the dots, he was a fugitive for two decades after failing to appear in court, says Joe Fitzpatrick, the FBI special agent who worked on the case, in girl in the photo.
Through news coverage of Michael’s kidnapping, a woman named Jenny Fisher was taken aback by the fact that authorities were posting photos of Tonya, saying she had recently died, and her missing young son. Fisher was confused: The woman identified on TV as Tonya was her ex-girlfriend in high school, whom she knew as Sharon Marshall.
“Sharon” – as Susan was known to her high school friends – is remembered in it girl in the photo As a brilliant and ambitious student who was accepted into Georgia Tech, he dreamed of becoming an aeronautical engineer. Sharon’s friends know that her father is a strange man who keeps a close eye on his daughter and sometimes seems inappropriate with her. The man was Floyd, who introduced himself as Susan’s father and called himself Warren Marshall.
When authorities told Fisher years later that the man was her friend’s husband, she was shocked. “They said, ‘They’re married,’ and I’m like, ‘No, that’s her father, they’re not married,'” Fisher says in the documentary. And they said: No, my dear, they are married. And I said, “No, that was her father.” We had a picture of very different people [when it came to] Who was Sharon?
“In 1989, one year ago [Suzanne’s] Dying, they’ve changed their names,” Fitzpatrick explains in girl in the photo. Sharon Marshall became Tonya, and Warren Marshall became Clarence Hughes. The names they used were taken from tombstones in Alabama. Then they married under their new names in New Orleans, which means that this man married his daughter. It was unbelievable.”
In the period between high school and her death, Susan was sexually assaulted by Floyd (Fischer shares a harrowing account of Susan raped at gunpoint one night when Fisher was sleeping, and Floyd had threatened the two girls with a weapon) and forced into sex work. Heather Lynn, a former dancer at the Mons Venus Club in Tampa, Florida who used to provide adult entertainment, remembers the woman who knew her as Sharon as a “very shy” person who “didn’t really talk about her past” and “didn’t talk about herself”, recounting her hearing about Sharon’s father and their “strange relationship.” According to Lynn, Sharon’s “father” told her to inquire about the parties at the club and to have them available. One night, during an event that was supposed to include a “no touch dance” And the lack of contact between the patrons and the dancers, Lynn says she was alerted to the fact that Sharon was “in front of the women’s bathroom,” “providing sexual favors for these men for $50.”
“She said, ‘Well, my dad asked me to do that, and he bought me condoms,'” Lynn says. “That was disgusting. I couldn’t believe a man would put his daughter in this position.”
Soon it turned out that “Sharon” was pregnant. It was around this time that she gave birth to Michael. “Sharon’s relationship with her son Michael was beautiful,” Lynn says. She was a wonderful mother. She was very engaged to him. And just seeing the way he looked at her — I think that was the best thing that ever happened to her.”
In 1995, Floyd sinner By a judge kidnapped Michael Hughes and sentenced him to prison. The investigation showed pictures of Cheryl Ann Commisso, a friend of “Sharon” who also worked at Mons Venus. The remains of Komiso were found in 1995, and it was later determined that she died in 1989. Fitzpatrick confirms that girl in the photo That Floyd left Florida and married Susan in an attempt to evade authorities after Commisso’s murder. In 1997, Floyd was charged with first-degree murder in Commisso’s death. He was convicted and sentenced to death five years later, in 2002. Floyd remains in detention at the Union Correctional Institution in Rayford, Florida.
People have been trying to find out the truth about Sharon Marshall, and what happened to Michael after he was kidnapped. It wasn’t until 2014 when Floyd answered both questions during a conversation with FBI agents in prison. According to FBI Special Agent Scott Loeb, Floyd told him, during a controversial exchange, that he killed the boy after the kidnapping. Floyd also revealed to the FBI the real name of Sharon Marshall, identifying her as Susan Sivakis.
The FBI still considers Susan’s death suspicious and unsolved. “It’s the one thing Floyd won’t talk about,” Loeb said previously in the office website.
Susan’s parents, Sandra Willett and Clifford Sivakis are still alive. They are informed of what happened to their daughter after the discovery, and they both share their stories in girl in the photo. Their accounts highlight what made the family vulnerable to Floyd-Willette, a divorced mother with post-traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of a typhoon, who tried in vain to get social services help when she became unable to care for her children, and Clifford Sivakis, a young Vietnamese girl. The veteran is still “kinda troubled” by the war, and hasn’t felt like he’s capable of becoming a father.
Susan became pregnant three times in her life. One of her children was Michael Hughes, the other was Megan Dufresne, Susan’s biological daughter who was put up for adoption in 1989. Dufresne explains in the documentary that knowing her mother’s story left her feeling a strange kind of anger, which she’s still trying to process. “No girl should go through this,” she says. “From a stranger, not to mention someone who’s supposed to be her father, and a father figure, whatever the hell it is.”
Dufresne named her son Michael after her late brother. In 2017, Susan’s tombstone, which until then had always read “Tonya,” was changed to reflect her true identity. Fisher, Dufresne and Dufresne’s grandfather, Clifford Sivakis were seen together on girl in the photo to unveil the new tomb, who identifies her as Susan Marie Sivakis.
“What I can do is – I can’t talk to Susan, but I can talk to Megan,” Dufresne’s grandfather, Clifford Sivakis, says in the documentary. “This will… that will do the trick.”