Who is Tonya Dawn Hughes? The story behind ‘Girl in the Picture’
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma kidnapping case is back in the spotlight thanks to Netflix’s new documentary “Girl in the Picture.” The film exposes all of the bizarre twists and turns of the case that have gripped Oklahomans for years.
Here’s the backstory on Tonya Dawn Hughes’ death and its aftermath.
***Warning: there are major spoilers below***
In 1990, Oklahoma City police began searching for the driver of a car that hit and killed 22-year-old Hughes, KFOR reports. She was found at the edge of a highway service road by a passerby. Although she was rushed to a nearby hospital, she later died of her injuries.
After his death, secrets and lies are revealed that challenge everything the investigators thought they knew.
Investigators take viewers down the rabbit hole as they search for Tonya Hughes’ true identity and later abduction of her 6-year-old son, Michael.
The kidnapping made headlines after a man entered an elementary school in Choctaw, about 20 miles from Oklahoma City, with a gun, and kidnapped the boy and the school principal .
The principal was eventually found tied to a tree, but Michael was nowhere to be found. Authorities have determined that the suspect in the case is Tonya’s husband, Clarence Hughes.
As information and advice poured into the FBI, they soon realized that Clarence Hughes was not who they thought he was. It turns out that Clarence Hughes was an alias of Franklin Delano Floyd, a criminal. They also learned that he wasn’t Tonya’s husband – he was her father.
Investigators continued to search for Clarences Hughes, but something was wrong. Based on Tonya’s age and Floyd’s criminal history, they realized there was no way he could be her biological father since he was in jail at the time of her birth.
The revelation sent them on a journey to determine Tonya’s true identity that would last over a decade.
FBI investigators eventually learned that Floyd kidnapped Tonya when she was just a child. Her real name was Suzanne Marie Sevakis.
Floyd was arrested and convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder of one of Sevakis’ friends. He was sentenced to death.
Although he was suspected in Sevakis’ death, he was never charged. He was convicted of kidnapping Michael and later admitted to shooting and killing the boy. His body has never been found.
Floyd is currently on Florida’s death row. His execution date has not been set.
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