girl in the picture

The shocking true story of Netflix’s Girl in the Picture – a very simple timeline

People are struggling to keep up with the plot twists

Girl in the Picture dropped on Netflix last week (4th July), and people are finding it pretty confusing.

The horrifying true crime documentary details the life and death of Suzanne Sevakis – a woman with multiple identities, and her abuse at the hands of Franklin Delano Floyd.

You might’ve lost your way while watching it, or had to draw up a multi-layered diagram following every detail. So, you’re welcome. Here’s Girl in the Picture, condensed into a super simple timeline:

Sometime between 1973 and 1975

Floyd kidnaps Suzanne as a young girl

girl in the picture

Photo via Netflix

Suzanne Sevakis was born in 1969. Her mum was just 17 when she gave birth, and her biological dad was fighting in Vietnam at the time.

Her mum chose to divorce from her dad while he was serving, and moved all three of her children to a trailer park in North Carolina. When a tornado ripped through their home, causing them to lose all their belongings, Suzanne’s mum ended up having a nervous breakdown. She tried to give her girls up for adoption – but the agency suggested she go to church instead, to find the strength to fight her way through her mental health problems.

Vulnerable and unwell, she met Franklin Delano Floyd for the first time. Floyd convinced Sevakis to marry him, taking custody of her children. Soon after, Suzanne’s mum was sentenced to 30 days in jail for “writing a bad cheque” in a local shop. Floyd saw this as his opportunity to take Suzanne for good.

1975 – 1986

Floyd ‘raises’ Suzanne as Sharon Marshall

suzanne sevakis

Photo via Netflix

All throughout her school years, Suzanne Sevakis was known to friends, teachers and acquaintances as “Sharon Marshall.” Her friends described her as “intelligent” and “beautiful,” becoming a member of every extra-curricular club possible. She fought against horrific odds to become a seemingly well-liked, carefree person. All the while, she was being physically, emotionally and sexually abused by Floyd.

When Suzanne graduated, her dream was to become an aerospace engineer. But Floyd took her away, at some point between graduation and 1989, to Tampa, Florida. They changed their names once again – from Sharon Marshall to Tonya Tadlock; Franklin Floyd to Clarence Hughes, got married (yep, you read that right) and settled down.


Cheryl Commesso is killed by Floyd – he flees with Suzanne to Oklahoma

cheryl commesso

Photo via Netflix

In the three years before her death, Suzanne (now known as Tonya), worked in a number of strip clubs to support herself. By 1989, she’d spent a lot of her time working at Mons Venus, a club in Florida. This is where she met Cheryl Commesso.

“She’d come over to Sharon’s house like one-to-three times a week,” a neighbour said in the Netflix documentary. “She always dressed nice and had her nails done… she was so nice… someone of her level, class and style saying ‘hi’. It just made you feel good.”

Floyd made explicit videos featuring Cheryl and Suzanne. He’d also beat them, and take photos for his own pleasure.

Cheryl was last spotted arguing with Floyd outside Mons Venus – a passer-by said they saw him “punch her in the face.” Shortly afterwards, she was first reported missing. Her remains wouldn’t be found for over five years.

Floyd takes this opportunity to flee Florida with Suzanne. He set their trailer on fire, and made his way to Oklahoma.

April 1990

Floyd takes out a life insurance policy for Suzanne

girl in the picture story

Photo via Netflix

At this point, Suzanne has started working at another club, under the name “Tonya Hughes.” She lived with Floyd and “their” two-year-old son, Michael Anthony Hughes.

Suzanne’s friends are aware of how desperate the situation is becoming between herself and Floyd. One night, she confesses to her colleague that she knows Floyd has taken out a big life insurance policy in her name, which terrified her. Her friends urge her to leave – but Suzanne says she needs to stay for Michael’s benefit.

Suzanne is found in a critical state

After a suspected hit-and-run accident, three passers-by discover Suzanna lying on the side of a road in Oklahoma. She’s taken to hospital, but soon dies from her injuries. Floyd arrives at the hospital with Michael – but no-one was allowed to visit her. Hospital workers suspected foul play was involved from the beginning.

Michael is placed with foster parents

michael anthony hughes

Photo via Netflix

Believing Michael wouldn’t be safe alone with Floyd, the Child Protection Service took the two-year-old into a foster home. From then until his disappearance, Michael was raised by Merle and Earnest Bean.

Meanwhile, Floyd is becoming increasingly desperate to get Michael back. He fought through the court several times to be allowed access to him – but Michael wasn’t interested in seeing this “mean man.”

After Merle and Earnest formally filed to adopt Michael, officials had a duty to perform a paternity test on Michael Anthony Hughes. In a shock twist – Floyd was not the father, and all his visitation rights were thrown out the window.

September 1994

Michael is taken hostage by Floyd at gunpoint

girl in the picture

Photo via Netflix

Merle opened up in Girl in the Picture about potentially seeing Floyd driving by her house several times, especially after cutting all ties with him. But CPS refused to take her seriously.

When Michael Anthony Hughes was just six years old, Floyd made his way into his primary school and held the headteacher at gunpoint. He said he’d shoot if he didn’t show him to Michael’s class immediately.

Taking both the headteacher and Michael hostage, Floyd went on the run. While he tied the principal to a tree and left him alone, he refused to let Michael go. Two months later, Floyd was found and arrested – but Michael was nowhere to be seen.


Cheryl’s remains are found

With Floyd finally in police custody, his belongings began to be searched. Under one of his pick-up trucks, a stuffed envelope was found, containing obscene images of both Suzanne Sevakis and Cheryl Commesso. Police compared the images of Cheryl to her remains; particularly the clothes she was found with. Medics also found the injuries pictured on Cheryl consistent with those found on her remains.

The similarities too significant to ignore, Floyd was re-arrested, charged and tried for the murder of Cheryl Commesso.


Floyd is sentenced to death by lethal injection

franklin d floyd

Photo via Netflix

Floyd’s trial was delayed multiple times on the grounds of his own mental health. In 2001, he was finally deemed fit, and was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

To this day, Floyd hasn’t faced death row. At the time of writing this, he’s lived to the age of 79.


Floyd admits to murdering Michael – and names Suzanne for the first time

In one of the FBI’s further attempts to get Floyd to reveal his secrets, the killer finally told officials what happened to Michael Anthony Hughes. He admitted to shooting Michael twice in the back of the head, on the same day as his kidnap.

Floyd also spoke Suzanne’s real name for the first time, which meant that police could finally – after almost 40 years – let her parents know.

Girl in the Picture is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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Featured image via Netflix.