Girl in the Picture (2022) Movie Script

[solemn music playing]
[man 1] It's late at night
in Oklahoma City, in April of 1990.
[indistinct radio chatter]
Two or three guys are in a truck
driving along the road.
And they see some kind of debris.
-[engine stops]
-[vehicle door opens, closes]
[suspenseful music playing]
And then they see off to the side,
there's a body.
And it appears to be a young woman,
a blonde-haired woman.
[sirens wailing]
And they call an ambulance.
She's rushed to the hospital,
and her husband, Clarence,
eventually shows up.
He says her name is Tonya Hughes,
that she's a stripper in Tulsa,
and that they have
a young son named Michael.
And he's much older
and he's just kind of this weird guy.
So, the doctors,
as they continue to examine her,
they see old bruises.
They see old injuries.
There's something wrong with this picture.
[monitor beeping rapidly]
Ultimately, she passes away.
[pensive music playing]
The girls Tonya danced with
want to find her family.
So they call this woman
and they tell her that her daughter died.
And she says,
"What are you talking about?"
"My daughter died 20 years ago.
She was only 18 months old."
They realize that
who they just buried was not Tonya Hughes.
So now they're asking,
"What happened?"
"And who the hell is she?"
[pensive music continues]
[film whirring]
[music continues]
[music fades]
[bottles clinking]
I met Tonya at Passions
in the fall of 1989.
[electro music playing]
We became friends
because we were the babies of the group.
[electro music continues]
And so we just kind of clicked together.
We weren't like
the biker-chick type girls.
We were just kind of like the type of girl
that went to school, graduated.
I was going to college at that point.
And so we had a lot in common.
I could tell she was smart.
You know, constantly reading.
Always wanting to get more knowledge.
We talked all the time.
Tonya was my best friend.
[indistinct chatter]
[Karen] When I met Tonya,
I met her husband, Clarence.
He was an older man,
and they had a two-year-old son, Michael.
[relaxing music playing]
Her son meant everything to her.
He was her world.
He was always smiling and happy.
I mean, he loved her so much.
[music continues]
Every time I've seen them together,
Michael would be right next to his mother.
He wouldn't be next to Clarence at all.
I asked her,
"Why don't we take Michael to the zoo?"
And she's like, "No, no, no, no."
Michael couldn't go anywhere
with her alone.
When we use dressing rooms,
you see each other.
She had bruises.
The whole backside of her.
She said she'd slipped and fallen,
but I know different.
[sniffling] And it was bad.
[tense music playing]
And it got worse.
It kept getting worse.
One day, Tonya came and told me
that Clarence had taken
a life insurance policy out on her.
She was terrified.
She really wanted to run,
but she had Michael
and he kept him under lock and key.
Very lock and key.
I think she was scared
he was going to hurt her and him.
And I don't think she could've gotten
Michael away from Clarence.
She She was stuck
and didn't know how to get out.
[siren wailing]
[Karen] Clarence called me
on April 25th, 1990,
and told me that she'd been involved
in a hit-and-run in Oklahoma City.
[siren wailing]
[suspenseful music playing]
She never told me
that they were going out of town.
[vehicles passing by]
Why shouldn't she tell me that?
None of it felt right.
[suspenseful music playing]
[man 2] Tonya Hughes arrived, uh,
sometime after midnight.
She had a medium-severe
closed-head injury.
She needed to be placed in the ICU
and treated as best we could
with intravenous fluids,
medications to control her blood pressure,
and medications
to control the brain swelling.
Now, Clarence told me
that she was in the ICU,
and that she was not allowed any visitors.
I wasn't supposed to go see her,
nobody was supposed to go see her,
but I went up anyway.
And that's when the nurses came in,
and that's when they told me
that they felt this was foul play.
The nurses told me
it wasn't a hit-and-run.
But what caught my attention
was the scratch marks right here.
Like, somebody's hand scratches.
To me, it looked like
she had been in a fight.
[monitor beeping]
[Engles] She was in pretty good shape,
considering an auto-pedestrian accident.
Her vital signs were stable.
But she, uh, seemed
to have a sinking spell
and it it was a mystery to me.
[monitor beeping rapidly]
[Karen] I'd gotten home and the phone
had rang. It was the hospital.
That she had passed.
[somber music playing]
She was 20 years old when she died.
[birds chirping]
And that's how we found out
her name wasn't her name.
[somber music continues]
Her name wasn't actually Tonya Hughes,
and we didn't know
who she was at that point.
That's why we only put "Tonya"
on her tombstone
And I don't think Michael was safe
with Clarence at all. At all.
The hospital asked me
about Michael's condition
and said that he was not talking.
And I go, "That's not him."
And that's when they gave me
the information to go to DHS.
DHS came and got Michael
and put him in a foster home.
[film whirring]
[gentle music playing]
-There he is.
-That's it.
-Uh-huh. Mickey Mouse Club.
We had to wear
the Mickey Mouse hat that day.
We got Michael on May 1st of 1990.
Michael's mom passed away the day before,
and he had just celebrated
his second birthday.
We got instructions from the caseworker
that he's still on the bottle
and he can only have Pepsi.
If you ever told him no,
he would go into hysteria.
He would lay on the floor,
like right out there
on that ceramic floor,
and he would bang his head on the floor.
He'd raise his head that high--
Yeah, to the point where we were afraid
he was gonna injure himself.
It was messed up in a way,
but he was a good kid.
[Merle] The very first night
I took him off the Pepsi.
Took him off the bottle.
And just gave him a cup with milk in it.
And so, you know, I thought,
"Man, what am I doing?"
You know,
when you take a baby off a bottle,
they're not too happy
the first few nights.
Well, he started to settle.
By the end of that week
-[Ernest] he's a different kid.
-he's a different kid.
I never thought I'd see the day
that he would do that.
We get Michael for four years.
Just over the first two years,
he actually started to grow
emotionally, physically, mentally.
[happy music playing]
The The whole time we had Michael
his dad had tried to get Michael back.
[Clarence] My son is punished
for wanting to see his dad.
Locked in his room,
his toys are taken away,
and he told
he's told that his dad's a mean man.
We cannot allow removal of child
from a non-cruel and abusive home
due to a wet diaper
or perceived lack of affection,
which I was unable to give my son
during a period of a weak time
when my wife died tragically.
[Ernest] Now, he had visiting rights.
Michael was made to go for visits.
Michael didn't like that.
We would tell Michael
that he had to go see his dad.
He would crawl up under the piano bench
and he just kept saying,
"That mean man.
That mean man. That mean man."
It wasn't a good day for Michael, ever.
[Clarence] Let me leave this thought
with you.
Broken homes and cruel things
perpetrated on children
cause a criminal to be born.
[ominous music plays]
It was assumed by everybody
-that he was the father.
-that he was the dad.
DHS called me and said that, um,
we needed to take Michael
for a paternity test.
The paternity test came about
and it was proven
he was not the father in any way.
No No biological relation.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Merle] And they terminated
his parental rights.
So then the visits stopped.
So that same week,
this pickup truck came by
and this man is going, like,
five or ten miles an hour.
He just kept looking at me the whole time.
I'm thinking, "What's the man looking at?"
I had this hunch. I don't know what.
And I called DHS and I said,
"Can you tell me what kind of vehicle
Clarence Hughes drives
or what he looks like?"
And when they described him to me, I said,
"That man was just by my house."
Then they said, "You're just paranoid."
And I said,
"No, I really feel like
something's going on."
[ominous music playing]
[man 3] On September 12th, 1994,
we got the call that there was a man
had been tied to a tree in the woods,
handcuffed, duct-taped.
[music continues]
The suspect casually walked in.
He asked to see the principal.
He said he was there to get his son.
He actually pulled a gun
partially out of his pocket.
And said, "I wanna get Michael,
and you're gonna help me do that."
He told me that he was ready to die.
If I didn't help him,
I wasn't going to live.
[Billy] And then he walked
into the classroom,
with the principal at gunpoint
and kidnapped Michael from the school,
along with the principal.
He said, "We're gonna walk out here,
we're gonna take your truck."
"And I want you to drive
a little ways to a dirt road."
They stopped eventually.
The principal was walked
into the wood line
where he was handcuffed to a tree
and then duct-taped
around his face and mouth.
Eventually, after a period of time,
someone found him
and called the authorities.
After we cleared the scene,
we went ahead and contacted the FBI.
The next day, agent Joe Fitzpatrick
came to my office, introduced himself.
[pensive music playing]
[objects clattering]
[bell tinkling]
[Joe] You fight more crime
in New York City on the way home
than you do here in Oklahoma City.
We don't have many kidnappings
in Oklahoma,
but if we had a kidnapping,
I knew it was coming to me.
In kidnappings, you wanna make
the recovery in the first 48 hours.
If you don't,
your chances go down drastically.
The very first thing we did
was put out an all-points bulletin.
All the agencies in Oklahoma
were on the lookout for a young boy
by the name of Michael Hughes,
who had been taken by a person
claiming to be the boy's father,
Clarence Hughes.
We pulled his file and saw that in 1990,
he tried to collect
on his wife's life insurance policy.
But the social security number he gave
was for a man named Franklin Floyd.
So Clarence Hughes's real name
was Franklin Delano Floyd.
[dramatic music playing]
Franklin Floyd had so many aliases.
Trenton Davis, Warren Marshall,
and Clarence Hughes.
We also realized that Franklin Floyd
had been in a halfway house.
The fact he's in a halfway house
means he came out of prison.
So I immediately pulled
his criminal record.
In 1962, he abducted a girl.
He robbed a bank in 1963.
He was released
into a halfway house in 1972.
Then in 1973, he attacked a female.
He was arrested, posted bail,
but then he failed
to appear in court for trial.
He'd been on the run ever since that time,
and a fugitive for almost two decades.
All this information together,
very simple to analyze
that we had a real problem.
[newsreader 1] Franklin Floyd spent
ten years in prison in the '60s.
After getting out,
he didn't report to his parole officer
and was missing for the next 17 years.
[newsreader 2] He was an expert
in being on the run
and knew how to conceal his identity.
[pensive music playing]
And there were real questions
about the boy's mother,
who had died four years before.
[newsreader 2] The finger of blame
started pointing at Franklin Delano Floyd
when co-workers of Tonya's,
from a Tulsa strip joint called Passions,
went to police with their story.
[ominous music playing]
When I first learned that Tonya was
actually killed by a hit-and-run driver,
it was more than likely
Franklin Floyd had committed that.
I mean, this guy was gonna be violent.
Catching him might be tricky.
[music continues]
Behavioral Science told me I had a week.
Said after a week, Floyd would
most likely get tired of the boy,
and he'd become a liability,
and he would kill him.
[newsreader 3] Floyd and young boy
are believed to be driving
in a 1994 Ford pickup, full size.
The tag number, QCN305,
Oklahoma license plate.
[newsreader 4] Tonya Hughes
was the mother of the boy
kidnapped from the Choctaw school,
but she was run over by a car
in Oklahoma City in 1990.
[newsreader 5]
Leads concerning Michael Hughes
should be directed to the FBI at 842-7471.
In 1994, there was a big news report,
um, about the kidnapping.
My mom was watching the news and she said,
"Jenny, they have her under
a different name. Some name Tonya."
"But that's Sharon. I'm telling you,
that's Sharon on the news."
And I was like, "What's wrong?"
You know, "Is Sharon on the news?"
"Are they interviewing her?
What's going on?"
[sobbing] And my mom said, "No."
"She is-- Sharon's dead."
I called the FBI.
I called the hotline and I said, you know,
"There was a news report we had on about
a girl named Tonya."
"I know who she is."
"Her name is Sharon Marshall."
[sniffling] "She was
my high school best friend."
[film whirring]
[upbeat music playing]
I met Sharon in 1984
at the student council camp.
[woman] I was a classmate
of Sharon Marshall.
We were in the gifted program together
at Forest Park Senior High.
Sharon was in class of 86.
I was class of '87.
I had two full years
with her being my best friend.
It's a typical high school.
[Sherry] Wild hallways, crazy kids.
People sneaking out
to the back parking lot to smoke.
We would go to a mall
just to look for boys.
We all had big hair and crazy clothes.
It was just your normal
1980s high school kind of vibe.
[Jenny] It all started
when I met Sharon at that summer camp.
It was just instant best friends.
I felt, from the first day,
I had known her my whole life.
I remember her
the first day she came into that class
because all the boys went, "Wow!" [laughs]
She was just super smart. She was in ROTC.
She was in science club.
She was in the gifted program.
She had a lot going on for her.
Sharon's friends were the outcasts.
We weren't really all that popular.
We were the gifted kids.
You know, the gifted kids are
not necessarily usually the popular ones.
"Sherry, your yearbook's as bad as mine
to find a place to sign."
"You're a really sweet and strange girl."
"Stay that way."
"Keep your unique style and be yourself."
"Love you, Sharon Marshall."
She always went for the underdogs.
Just the kind of person she was.
[Lynn] High school, for me,
was a little tough.
I was smaller than the other guys.
I was involved in art.
Being almost beat up, being called a fag.
That was normal.
And my sophomore and junior years
were only made happy
due to a couple of people.
And one of those people
was Sharon Marshall.
During school,
there was always a note for me
that said, "Hey, Ray baby."
"Hope you're having a good day.
I love you, Sharon."
[Jenny] She was very mature for her age.
She was very adamant from day one
that she wanted to go to Georgia Tech,
and she wanted to be
an aerospace engineer.
I remember the phone call when she called
and she was screaming on the phone.
"I did it. I got in."
"I got accepted to Georgia Tech,
and I got a full scholarship,
and I'm gonna be
in the aerospace engineering department."
She was so excited.
It was the best day of her life.
And she was so, so happy.
It's all she talked about.
Her dad bought a full-page ad
in the yearbook
to congratulate her
on the scholarship at Georgia Tech.
Dad said, "Lookout, Georgia Tech!"
"Hello, future Air Force General
and aeronautical engineering career. Dad."
There were parents
who took out full-page ads
but they were all baby pictures
and, you know
Why would a dad
choose something sexy for his daughter?
That doesn't make any sense.
We just thought her dad
was really strict and really weird.
[Jenny] The first time I met her father
was when he brought Sharon up to my house.
He pulled my dad aside
and asked for a loan.
And my dad said, "No way." [laughs]
You know, "No."
And that put a real bad taste
in my parents' mouth.
And that was day one.
She told me
her mother was hit by a car on a bridge
and died when she was in the second grade.
She was in charge
of cooking dinner every night.
Um, she wasn't wasn't really allowed
to talk on the phone.
She said, "Don't call here too much unless
I know in advance you're gonna call."
"But I can call you."
As soon as he would come home,
I mean, she would get real anxious
in her voice
and she's like, "Okay, okay, I got to go."
You know? And she would hang up.
[line disconnects]
[phone ringing]
And I remember the phone call
when she called,
and she's bawling her eyes out,
and she said she was pregnant.
And I remember, um, being shocked.
You know, crying
when she told me she was pregnant.
And going, you know,
"Oh my God, what are you going to do?"
[tense music playing]
She's like, "Well, I'm gonna have it.
I'm gonna put him up for adoption."
"But Daddy won't let me go
to college now."
"You have to, you got a scholarship.
You're going to Tech. You're so smart."
"You wanna be an aerospace engineer.
You're gonna do all these things."
She said,
"Somebody has to take care of Daddy."
[receiver clicks]
[Lynn] I think it actually crushed her,
not being able to go to Georgia Tech,
because that's all she worked for.
I mean, that's all she worked for.
[ominous music playing]
Sharon called one day and said,
"We're leaving in a coupla days
for Arizona."
She said, "I'm gonna
have the baby out there."
And she told me
she was gonna put him up for adoption.
She said Daddy wouldn't let her keep it.
[film whirring]
[newsreader] Police say
51-year-old Franklin Floyd
entered the Indian Meridian
[Walsh] Twice now,
America's Most Wanted highlighted
the Michael Hughes abduction.
After last Saturday's episode, the show
got close to 20 calls from viewers
who claim to know something
about the boy's whereabouts.
One of these tips is going to be the tip
that leads us to Michael Hughes.
When Michael went missing,
it was all over the news.
And I believe
that's when I met Joe Fitzpatrick.
[suspenseful music playing]
And, um, I sat and talked with him
for hours.
And he said, "Jenny, not only is she dead,
but she's not who you think she is."
[Joe] We showed her photographs
of Tonya Hughes.
And she said
that was who she knew as Sharon Marshall.
And that, uh, this man
who we knew as Clarence Hughes
was who she knew
as Sharon's father, Warren Marshall.
[Jenny] They thought this was his wife.
They said, "They're married."
And I'm like, "No, that's her father.
They're not married."
And they said,
"No, honey, they're married."
And I was like, "No. That was her father."
We had a portrait of very different people
of who Sharon was.
[Joe] We realized,
after talking to Jenny Fisher,
that Tonya also had aliases.
[suspenseful music playing]
We discovered that,
in 1989, one year before her death,
they changed their names.
Sharon Marshall became Tonya,
and Warren Marshall
became Clarence Hughes.
And the names they used
were taken off tombstones in Alabama.
And then they got married
under the new names, in New Orleans,
which means
this man married his own daughter.
It was unbelievable.
One question led to another.
And soon police were wondering
just who they were dealing with.
Investigation showed
she went by many names,
like Tonya D. Hughes
and Tonya Dawn Tadlock.
But who was this woman and who killed her?
There's a big question here.
What happened to Sharon Marshall
in this time period between high school
until she was found dead
on the side of the road?
-[film whirring]
-[somber music playing]
Her death was suspicious.
But there was no proof
that Floyd killed her.
What happened to Sharon Marshall?
[music continues]
[dramatic whoosh]
[music fades]
[Jenny] I heard from her one time.
She told me, you know, "We're moving some,
we're going to go out West.
We're doing this"
They, somehow, in all of that,
ended up down in Tampa.
She was employed as a stripper
in one of the clubs there.
[woman] Mons Venus, in the late 1980s,
was the only place to go
for adult entertainment.
[rock music playing]
This was known as a place
that had the most beautiful girls
in the world.
We didn't just wear lingerie.
We wore amazing French lingerie.
We were the best of everything.
We had everyone come through here.
Every night, it felt like a party.
[film whirring]
I remember the day that
Sharon Marshall walked through the door.
She looked like a living baby doll.
She dressed very innocent.
She had a full lace cover-up.
So she was never walking around
completely naked like everyone else.
She really did look like a little girl.
She was very shy.
She just really didn't talk
about her past.
And she didn't talk about herself.
But she and I were starting
to become friends.
And that's when
the girls in the club started telling me
about her dad
and their weird relationship.
Sharon's dad told her
that she needed to inquire
about the parties that I was setting up,
and she needed to tell me
that she was available.
[rock and roll music playing]
There is this millionaire's club here
and their parties were the easiest to do.
You dance three songs, no lap dancing.
No one touches you.
And walk out of there with,
you know, 500 to 1,000 dollars.
And that was the first party
I took Sharon to.
One of the men told me,
"You'd better go get Sharon
and I need her to leave now."
"She's in front of the women's bathroom."
She was standing outside, at the door,
and she was offering sex services
to these men for 50 dollars.
She said, "Well, my dad told me to do it
and he bought me condoms."
That was disgusting.
I couldn't believe
that a man
would put their daughter
in that situation.
[ominous music playing]
Sharon never told me she was pregnant,
but it became apparent.
[solemn music playing]
Sharon's relationship with her son,
Michael, was beautiful.
She was a wonderful mother.
She was so engaged with him.
And just seeing the way he looked at her.
I think that was
that was the best thing
that ever happened to her.
[birds chirping]
[serene music playing]
[woman] When I was 15,
I started babysitting Michael.
He was my buddy.
He would head-butt me.
Forehead to forehead.
We'd stare at each other. Daw!
He'd take his mouth and do it on my cheek.
He was such a sweetie.
[film whirring]
I lived in the Golden Lantern
Mobile Home Park here in Florida.
And I lived about one city block
from Sharon and Warren Marshall.
Sharon and Warren's trailer
was was normal.
Two-bedroom, one-bath.
Average-sized trailer.
Warren slept on the hide-a-bed,
in the living room.
Sharon had the back room.
And then the middle front room
was Michael's.
He didn't have a crib.
I always thought that was weird.
He had like a little pack 'n play.
What's funny is they didn't have family.
And they only have one or two friends.
Sharon had a friend, Cheryl.
She would come over to Sharon and Warren's
house like one to three times a week.
And she'd always dress nice
and had her nails done.
And she was so nice.
Like she, literally, would come through
the trailer park with her Corvette.
It was a beautiful car.
And see me at the pool and just wave.
And as a 15-year-old,
somebody that pretty,
it just made you feel good,
you know, that someone of her level,
class, and style was saying hi.
[Heather] Cheryl was just gorgeous.
She was Italian.
She had this long,
beautiful, thick, black hair.
She had a wild look, but she really
wasn't wild. She was very naive.
She was a beauty pageant winner.
And she saw Mons Venus
as a stepping-stone.
She was hoping to become a model.
She wanted to be in Playboy.
But then I find out that Cheryl
was hanging out with Sharon and her dad,
and I was concerned about her safety.
[ominous music playing]
[Michelle] One night,
we were watching wrestling.
And Warren went to put in a video
so we could record it.
And that's when I saw
Sharon and Cheryl on the beach
without tops,
and dancing.
I just remember sitting there
and going, "That's Sharon."
"Is he recording his own daughter?"
And then he realized,
"Oh shit! I need to--" You know?
"You don't ever talk about this.
This is not something--"
"That was just fun,"blah-blah-blah-blah.
I was just like, "Okay."
"Yeah, I I got to go. My curfew is up."
[Heather] One of the girls
told me about the video.
When Cheryl comes in, I'm irate with her.
And she tells me Sharon's dad said,
"Let me take pictures of you."
"And I'm going to take this video
and I'm going to submit it to Playboy,
and you're going to be a star."
[disturbing music playing]
And she said,
"He was trying to have sex with me."
"And I didn't want to have sex with him."
"I was fighting him off."
"And a switch flipped
and he became very violent."
I just told her,
"I can't protect you from them."
"You need to stay away from them."
[unsettling music playing]
But all of a sudden,
Sharon and her dad disappeared.
She just didn't show up for work.
She never said anything.
I thought they must have left
because there was so much talk.
And we were trying
to get her away from him.
But the baby was never out of his sight.
And she was afraid for that.
And there was no way
she was leaving Michael.
[unsettling music continues]
[film whirring]
[birds chirping]
Jennifer Fisher didn't know
what happened to Sharon all those years.
-[phone ringing]
And I said, at the time we had no clue,
you know, what was going on.
We thought her father was just a weirdo.
But I remember one day Sharon wanted me
to spend the night at their house.
My dad was out of town.
My mom said, "Just this once
I'm gonna let you go down
and spend the night down there."
"And do not tell your father."
My mom dropped me off.
We were starting to change,
to get ready for bed.
She pulled open one of her drawers
and pulled out all this
very, very sexy lingerie.
And she said, "Oh, Daddy buys this stuff
for me and lets me have it."
I said, "Oh my God, these are beautiful.
But, uh, hello, why do you have this?"
And she's like, "Oh, I just keep it
in here 'cause it's just pretty."
And, um
He came in with a gun.
They didn't have doors in their house.
They had curtains. There were no doors.
And he walked in with a gun.
And he pointed it at us and he said,
"What are y'all doing?"
I mean, he screamed
at the top of his lungs.
I screamed.
Um, we only had underwear on.
We We were just changing.
I didn't have clothes on.
I grabbed everything to hold up.
And he starts laughing.
Maniacal, evil laugh.
And then he says,
"I'll be back." And walked out.
And I looked at Sharon
and she she just laughed.
"Oh, Daddy's just being silly."
So we changed and then he came back.
And he still had the gun.
And he ordered me to lay down,
on the floor, on a sleeping bag,
and put a pillow over my head.
And I did.
And he raped her at gunpoint. [sobs]
And I was in the room.
And we didn't talk after that.
He got up and he left.
And I was I just laid there.
[sniffling] The next morning she came over
and she gave me a big hug,
and she said,
"Daddy's just like that."
She said, "I'm okay. You're okay."
She said, "Just let it go."
[solemn music playing]
I never said a word to anybody
because I was scared.
It's hard because through the years,
this has been
the most painful thing in my life.
It's changed who I was as a person.
It changed how I view the world.
It changed everything about me.
[birds chirping]
[solemn music continues]
I don't know anybody
who had as miserable a life as she had
for as long as she had.
I hated the fact that,
as a child, she was sexually abused.
And then, uh, he took her around
to strip clubs
to perform and make a living for him.
And that made me hurt for her.
I hurt I hurt a lot for her.
I can't imagine anybody
being under those conditions
for that long a period of time.
[pensive music playing]
We knew that Floyd committed
sexual crimes against Sharon.
And we know he had a history of
abduction, rape, and violence.
As always, this was a pattern.
He'd been convicted in 1962
of abducting a four-year-old girl
and raping her.
He was a convicted pedophile,
In the 1990s, again, he attacked a woman.
So we begin to see
the pattern of violence and abuse.
But going through Floyd's past,
it was obvious that something was off.
[suspenseful music playing]
An agent comes up with a neighbor
that knew Franklin Floyd
in the 1970s, in Oklahoma City.
And the neighbor had a picture
of Floyd with Sharon
when she was about 5 or 6 years old.
Behavioral Science agent tells me
it's a typicalpicture of an abused child
because she's looking sad,
she's not smiling.
So we looked at the timeline.
And we realized Sharon
was 20 years old when she died in 1990.
Which means she would have been born
around 1969 or 1970.
Floyd was in prison from 1963 to 1972.
There was no way
he could be Sharon's biological father.
He wouldn't have a child. I mean
It wasn't logical
that the girl belonged to him.
Floyd had a history of kidnapping.
So when I saw it, I said, "Oh my God.
He had probably kidnapped her too."
[music fades]
We have concern that she
may have been kidnapped as a young child,
and had been kept
in the custody of Franklin Floyd
during this whole time period.
[Joe] He kept her for over 15 years.
I know, at this point, that her real name
wasn't Sharon Marshall or Tonya Hughes.
But I had no idea who she actually was,
who are her parents,
where she came from,
what her true name was.
We just didn't know.
You get a little queasy in the stomach
because you realize that
this horrendous case just got worse.
We thought, therefore,
that Michael was in real danger.
So we knew we had to act, and act fast.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Billy] Franklin Floyd had been
a federal fugitive for 17 years.
So we knew he was gonna be hard to find.
He was just out there somewhere.
And God bless those FBI agents
who took over that case
and decided, "We got to do this."
Joe Fitzpatrick came up with a plan.
[Joe] Any criminal case like this,
the best indication you have
of what someone's gonna do in the future
is what they've done in the past.
[Billy] This guy's had so many aliases,
and people like that tend to redo
the same thing over and over again.
They have a pattern, usually.
[Joe] I figured he was using
the same aliases.
I figured he'd go to the places
he'd been before.
Phoenix, Florida, Georgia,
and and Kentucky.
[phone ringing]
So I put a stop on all of his aliases.
[Billy] They alerted
all the different states
where he had obtained
a driver's license under different names,
thinking that he might
try to renew a driver's license.
[pensive music playing]
[Joe] Sure enough,
he renewed that driver's license
under Warren Marshall
in Louisville, Kentucky.
And I flew to Kentucky,
and we had an agent in Louisville
dress up in a UPS uniform.
[suspenseful music playing]
Arrest procedure had to be
delivering his driver's license to him
and arresting him at that time.
[music continues]
[music intensifies]
[siren wailing]
And we delivered the driver's license.
And agents surrounded him
and took him into custody.
Immediately following his arrest,
agents went to his residence,
talked to all the neighbors.
[reporter] Floyd lived
in this rundown apartment building,
just east of downtownLouisville,
about six weeks.
Not long enough for his neighbors
to know much about him.
To my knowledge,
he didn't even talk to anybody.
Just came in and came out.
Didn't talk to anybody
about family or anything like that, so
No one had seen Michael.
I checked with both employments
where he was presently employed
and with his previous employ as a painter.
No one had seen Michael.
He had a bus ticket
from Atlanta, Georgia
to Louisville, Kentucky
for one person and one person only.
He's my son, I love him very much.
[keys jingling]
I hope that they find him.
[Joe] The next day, I sat him down and
and I asked if Michael was still alive.
And he claimed that he was.
He said he left him with a rich person.
There's no rich person who
has anything to do with Franklin Floyd.
They were all such ridiculous statements.
This This is another one of his lies.
[solemn music playing]
At this point,
I felt certain Michael was dead.
But it it's a child,
and you you hope you're wrong.
[cameras clicking]
We miss Michael.
He's like a son to us.
Michael, we love you.
Uh, if we knew where to come to get you,
we'd come get you
but we don't know where.
There'd be many times that we'd be driving
down the road and I'd see a kid in a car
and the hair was
the same color as Michael's,
and I'd try to get up beside him
and see it wasn't Michael.
But there's there's always,
you know,
until you get the final definite,
there's always that thought
that maybe he's still out there.
There's just something about him.
The way he looks, his big brown eyes
that conveys the love that he has for us.
We have that same love for him
and we just want to have him back.
[cameras clicking]
[siren wailing in distance]
[birds chirping]
[Joe] As this case was set up for trial,
we realized that charging Floyd
for Michael's murder on its merits is weak
because we don't have a body.
It would be a hard case to win.
[man] You can make a murder case
without a body.
But we know that
if we're gonna get a conviction,
we have to prove it
beyond a reasonable doubt.
And at this point,
it's a close call.
So what seemed like a pretty
straightforward and easy case to prove
was really not that easy a case.
We had some hurdles we had overcome.
So we charged him with
kidnapping Michael Hughes,
using a firearm during the carjacking,
which added a five-year minimum
mandatory sentence on to that.
We also charged him
with a second firearm offense
for using the firearm
during the commission of thekidnapping.
That added an additional 25-year sentence.
[Billy] The first time I saw him was when
he was being escorted into federal court.
He just had this empty, deadly stare.
That stare was a Charlie Manson stare.
It was scary to me.
[tense music playing]
[reporter] Is justice going to be
served here, Mr. Floyd?
Floyd started off defending himself
and and he was very aggressive,
asking dumb questions.
He knew that this judge may allow him
to argue his case, and have
what we call hybrid representation.
He wanted to get up and tell the story.
He wanted to talk.
And the only way he could do that
without taking the witness stand
was to be able to argue to the judge.
He would ramble and go off on tangents.
It was just ego, hubris,
narcissistic personality,
sociopathic personality.
[Jenny] I testified
in Michael's kidnapping trial.
The hardest thing, terrifying,
was having to face him in court.
To testify with him sitting right there.
And I remember on the stand,
looking over
and staring right in his eyes.
And, like, "I got you. I got you, fucker."
[music continues]
[Billy] Floyd got up
to ask her a question.
You drew your opinion
about me in the way I am
based on the information
that the FBI told you, right?
And she said, "No, I drew my opinion
about you when I saw the type of lingerie
you were buying your daughter
and how you made her dress.
That's when I drew my opinion about you.
And I looked right in the face and I said,
"You are her daddy."
"She called you daddy.
You were her father."
And his his attorney
just threw his papers up in the air.
There was nothing they could do.
[Mark] Look, it was not an easy case.
It It was all circumstantial.
I mean, that's what gave me heartburn.
I've never lost a case at trial. Never.
But every time, at the end of trial,
you get butterflies in your stomach.
The judge released the order
and we were successful on all counts.
After evading the law for two decades,
he was sentenced to 52 years in prison,
no parole,
for the kidnapping of Michael Hughes.
[reporters clamoring]
-[reporter] Mr. Floyd, what do you think?
-Fuck you and Oklahoma, son of a bitch.
-Fuck off, you motherfucker!
-[reporter 2] Where's the boy?
Fuck you!
[ominous music plays]
[Joe] Then I got a call from an agent.
They found the principal's truck,
which Floyd stole in the kidnapping.
And they found photographs
that'd been taped underneath the truck.
[suspenseful music plays]
They were all, almost all
It was very obviously Floyd's
because included in these photographs
were some photographs of Sharon
when she was small.
Also, in these photographs,
was a young lady we hadn't seen before.
She was in various stages
of being disrobed and beaten.
And I said, "He could not have beaten her
to this extent and not killed her."
He'd had to.
We had another mystery.
Who was she?
Looking at her, she had
she had real tan lines.
And I go, "Well, they could've spent time
in Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky."
So I sent the photographs
down to those offices
and asked them to check
their unsolved cases.
Now this is what you call
a shot in the dark.
[newsreader] A highway crew
makes a grisly discovery.
A badly decomposed human skull.
Four days of digging
produces 90 percent of a skeleton,
along with a breast implant,
and some clothing and jewelry.
When we examined the skull, we found
two bullet holes to the back of the skull
and the orbital bone wasbroken
under one of the eyes.
It was definitely not a natural death.
There was definitely
homicidal violence involved in it.
So, yes, it was classified as a homicide
almost immediately.
We looked at all of the local agencies.
We weren't able to identify the skeleton.
About a year later,
we got notified by the FBI
that they had photos from another case
of a young lady that was being beaten.
And as we look at them,
the shirt wrapped around
the neck of the girl who's been beaten
matches the shirt
that we have tied in a knot.
We went ahead and got dental records
from them and Jane DoeI-275,
which is what she was known as.
And we were able to actually identify
the skeleton
on the side of the interstate.
Ms. Cheryl Commesso.
And during our investigation,
we discovered that Cheryl had worked
as an exotic dancer at the Mons Venus.
Now, police want to talk to anyone
who knew Cheryl Commesso back in 1989.
[Heather] After the videotape
of Cheryl and Sharon,
there just was a lot of gossip going on.
Everyone in the club was talking about it.
And then Cheryl showed up at the club.
And she had a bruise on her cheek,
a black eye.
She had marks on her neck
where you could see
she had been strangled.
And that's when I knew that this had gone
from Warren being a twisted pervert
to him being physical.
And he was obsessed with her.
He called many times to the club
and he was asking me
a lot of questions about Cheryl.
He wanted to know her last name.
He wanted to know where her dad lived.
Every time he called and asked for Cheryl,
I would tell him that
she isn't here and then I'd hang up.
We did everything we could
to try to create separation
between the two of them.
But shortly after that,
I was walking out of the club.
Sharon's dad was in the parking lot.
[suspenseful music playing]
And Cheryl was standing next to his car
and they're having a heated argument.
And he was screaming at her.
And he said he was going to kill her.
So, I ran over there. I intervened.
Then he got mad at me,
and he revved his car at me
and the car lurched.
He was acting like
he was going to hit me with the car.
I walked away holding her,
walked her to her car.
I thought she would go home to her dad.
And that was the last time I saw Cheryl.
[music fades]
[Michelle] All of a sudden,
Sharon and Warren had to go out of town.
And they asked if I could collect the mail
and keep my eyes on the trailer.
And one night,
the neighbor right across the street
went outside
to smoke a cigarette out on the porch,
and there was a guy in a truck.
And he gets out of the truck,
goes around to Sharon and Warren's house.
About five minutes later, he comes out,
gets in the truck, takes off.
Flicks his cigarette, comes inside,
and he said
"All of a sudden I hear this boom!"
He looked out the window
and there's this big ol'
Right through the center. And like,
literally, the stove went through the
Like just [mimics blast]
People, you know,
that were chitter-chatting,
you know, by the pool, by the mailbox,
you know, that
Warren had hired somebody
or made somebody, uh,
burn down his trailer.
[Joe] We finally knew
why Floyd left Florida in such a hurry.
He was fleeing because
he had killed Cheryl Commesso.
Floyd knew that law enforcement
would be looking for
a man, his daughter, and her child.
They would not be looking for a man,
his wife, and their child.
And that's why they stopped
and got married.
[pensive music playing]
[newsreader] The story of Floyd's
criminal life spans half the nation,
from Oklahoma,
where his wife turned up dead,
he kidnapped his son
and abducted a school principal,
to this underbrush, near Interstate 275,
where the skeletal remains
of Cheryl Commesso turned up.
Former detective Mark Deasaro says
Floyd will murder again
if he ever gets out of prison.
He's a He's a sociopath and a predator.
Floyd was charged with first-degree murder
for Cheryl Commesso.
[ominous music plays]
[Mark] I always felt
that we had a good case
when you looked at all the evidence,
even though, the majority of it
may have been circumstantial.
It was just overwhelming,
the fact that we could put her there,
we could put him there.
We could put them together.
We had people that observed arguments
between them.
Franklin Floyd faces lethal injection
for the murder of a Tampa nude dancer.
[ominous music plays]
[Michelle] The detectives, they asked me
to identify some photos.
There's a photo
of Cheryl's body laying on that mattress.
The exact same dirty, nasty mattress
on that hide-a-bed in his living room.
I was in that man's house
at least seven times a week.
And out of those seven times,
every day that couch was open.
There was no no misrepresentation.
That was the same mattress.
I knew. I was
We had Floyd for 52 years.
But now we had a chance to convict
Floyd on a murder investigation.
A capital crime,
for which he could get the death sentence.
Franklin was found guilty
of first-degree murder.
He was sentenced to death.
[Joe] It was a very good feeling
to hear the verdict.
There was a great deal of satisfaction
in knowing that Floyd was going to be
where he couldn't hurt anybody.
Now, the bad aspect of this case,
even after trial is
I had no idea where Michael
the body is.
[Billy] It was just a freak accident
that those photos were found,
and he eventually got convicted
of a homicide.
Uh, it wasn't the one we wished to have.
But I think in every police officer's
career there's something that lingers.
I took a picture of Michael Anthony Hughes
and I actually taped that
right above my computer,
where I had to look at it every day.
It was something that just gave me hope.
That's what it did.
It kept me going
every day at the office, like
We need to not come to this.
And it will happen.
When I left, it was still taped there.
And as I clean my office to leave,
I finally took that picture off.
And retired.
In the 27 years I worked for the FBI,
I've come awfully close
to closing every case.
Two of them that I was not able to close
at the time I retired
was finding Michael
and identifying Sharon.
[solemn music playing]
[man] In 2002, a friend
just sent me a photograph,
saying you have to look at this.
It was a picture
on what was called the Doe Network.
It was a missing person website.
And it was a picture of a little girl
sitting in the lap of a man
that was supposed to be her father.
And the caption was underneath
that she had been kidnapped,
raised as his daughter
and married and killed.
And I said, "Oh my God."
But then more you looked at the picture,
and the more you looked at her,
you could see
something was terribly wrong.
And I just looked at it and said,
"I have to dig into this."
The first person I think
I spoke with was Joe Fitzpatrick.
[suspenseful music playing
And he says that there were two mysteries
that he had hoped to resolve.
Who is Sharon Marshall,
and what happened to Michael Hughes?
[indistinct chatter]
And even though
he was kind of leery talk to me,
you could tell that
there was some unfinished business here.
This case meant something to Joe.
And he was really affected
by the girl that was in the picture.
It was her.
It was Sharon.
It was
the goodness.
It was
how people talked about her.
It was her accomplishments,
and it was just
this beautiful young woman.
who was trapped in evil.
And she had been forgotten.
I just said, "You know,
this is more than just a crime story."
I wanted to do everything I could
to try to find Sharon's identity.
I thought that was really important
and I felt, "You know what?"
"Let's do this book."
And the only person that knew
her real identity was Franklin Floyd.
I said, "Let me take a shot
and see if I can go
interview Franklin Floyd."
[gate buzzing]
And I go down there
and they bring me into this county prison.
[gate buzzes and opens]
So they brought Floyd
into an interview room to meet with me.
And they had brought
all of his files with him, too.
[chains jangling]
[suspenseful music playing]
And there were a couple of deputies
standing next to him.
And then they left.
[door closes]
And it's just me and him now in the room.
And we start talking.
Actually, I should rephrase that.
He started talking and he didn't stop.
He thought maybe that
somehow I could help him.
I could do something
his lawyers couldn't do.
Tell his story
and somehow that would free him.
[Floyd] As you go, you're gonna
learn a lot about me.
I don't care what you write.
I'll help you tell the truth.
This is the actual
where I went in the home,
where my mother abandoned me.
[Matt] So Franklin Floyd was born in 1943.
His father died.
He had brothers and sisters.
Mother couldn't take care of him, sent him
to the Georgia Children's Baptist Home.
And, you know,
he had a troubled life there.
[Floyd] The most torturous place
Like that old lady, she'd scald my hands.
And then she pushed my head in the closet.
They was beating my feet. I couldn't walk.
They swelled up.
I did see how he was created.
I did see how the mold was made.
[Floyd] Boys raped me, beat me,
made me be their slave and all that.
When they bathed me
with certain boys,
they'd take two fingers and shove it up.
And they'd get away with it
because I'm small.
By the time he was 18,
he had real he had mental issues.
[Floyd] When I ran away, I joined
the army, drifted around the country,
and had to steal everywhere I went.
And then I got accused of a crime,
and then went to prison,
was abused
I sure am convicted
of molestation, rape, kidnap.
And they had no proof of that.
You know that, don't you?
Any time there was an actual
specific crime, he'd deny it.
[Floyd] They don't have no proof,
witness or something that says
they saw me taking pictures
of somebody with spread legs.
Don't you get what I'm saying?
I would ask him about Sharon
and he didn't wanna touch that.
I'd ask him about Michael,
and he didn't wanna touch that.
He didn't want to admit to anything.
I said to him,
"Where did you get Sharon from?"
He goes, "I didn't get her anywhere.
She just came with me."
[Floyd] Listen
She was a darling.
And was so smart, and
Listen, she loved me no matter what.
[Matt] He just He denied everything.
He denied killing Sharon.
Kidnapping her. He denied killing Michael.
And he denied killing Cheryl Commesso.
I didn't learn anything from Floyd
other than he was just clearly psychotic.
You know, as an investigative journalist,
you try to get down to the truth.
It was really frustrating,
by the end of the book, not to
not to have found out who she was.
At that point in time,
you know, we just the book was done.
And published.
[rock music playing]
Matt Birkbeck interviewed the man
now known as Franklin Floyd in prison.
Floyd not only kidnapped Sharon
as a little girl,
he's serving time on death row.
[newsreader] Matt Birkbeck wrote the book
A Beautiful Child,
which recounts how, against all odds,
the girl known as Sharon
blossomed in school.
[dial-up internet connecting]
[mouse clicking]
[computer chimes]
[Matt] When the book came out,
it captured the attention
of a couple of websites,
the Doe Network and Websleuths.
These are like amateur detectives.
And then you saw this organic growth.
You could see different threads.
They were talking about it.
Who is Sharon Marshall? Could she
be this girl that went missing in Utah?
Could she be this girl
that went missing in Toronto?
And it just kept building
and building and building.
Over the months, I got more emails.
People in the US,
people in Canada, people overseas.
Within six months to a year,
we had people around the world
trying to find, who is this girl.
A lot of people were frustrated.
It was like, "Matt, come on!"
"You know, I'm reading this
and was like, we thought you got it,"
And I didn't get it.
And I just You know, I would answer.
I would answer all these emails.
I would just say,
"Hey, you know, I did this with the hope
that we're gonna you know,
we could find her identity."
We got a couple of
really good leads actually out of it,
but we really didn't have any way
to test them.
But then in 2005,
almost a year after the book came out,
we got a break.
I got an anonymous email.
And it said,
Would the DNA of
Sharon's daughter help you?
[hopeful music playing]
[Megan] I am Megan,
and I am Sharon's birth daughter.
I always knew that I was adopted,
but never felt weird
until I've discovered Matt's book.
Then it was a lot more
than just being adopted.
The more I learned,
the angrier and sadder
I got about everything.
I mean, that's kind of kind of been
a progression of emotions since then.
Everything of this
since learning about it and
has been more anger and more sadness,
and confusion of how I'm supposed to feel.
I don't know what my feelings are.
I know I'm mad [laughs]
but I don't know
at what specifically, or why.
Like, I'm still trying to figure
figure it all out and process it.
[somber music playing]
I learned a lot that I don't like
to think about about her life.
No girl should have to go through that.
From a stranger, much less somebody
that's supposed to be your father.
Or fatherfigure
or whatever the hell he was. Um
Yeah. That's That's the stuff
I don't like to think about.
I was a junior in high school
when my aunt discovered Matt's book
and told my mom about it.
Um, I remember we were driving home
from The Snowball Stand,
when my mom told me
that there was more to the story
than justmy birth mother
was killed in a car accident.
[film whirring]
[birds chirping]
[woman] A couple had walked
into an attorney's office
and they said they couldn't afford
another child.
"Can you find it someone to adopt?"
and we walked in and we saw
Clarence and Tonya sitting at the table.
He just wanted this over with.
He wanted it done. He wanted money.
He controlled
the whole conversation with her.
So yeah, I was a little leery.
But I just feel like God kept telling me,
"This is it."
[uneasy music playing]
Six weeks later, Megan was born.
So we got to the hospital,
and she'd already delivered.
She was in the bed
and I went in there privately,
just her and I.
And I said, "Did you want to see her?"
She says, "No, I can't."
And I think back on this day.
Like why couldn't she
have told me more that day?
Why couldn't she have said, "I need help."
Why, when we were alone,
we had the opportunity,
did you not say,
"Help me."
Nobody knows about that. Because it was
just her and I in that room.
Because the minute Floyd came in,
everything stopped.
The whole conversation stopped.
I used to, um
I sometimes still do.
I'll pull up pictures
on the internet of me as a baby,
and pictures of Michael and
pictures of Sharon and compare them all.
And just see, um, the cheeks
and the nose for sure came from her.
And my natural hair color
is the same as hers.
So, there was yeah.
I definitely see myself in her.
[cheerful music playing]
Growing up you want
to know who you look like.
What you're supposed to look like. Um
Family history.
And then you go
into your teenage years as a girl.
Um, I just want to know where I came from.
In 2010 or 11, I decided to get my DNA.
Um, it was
so we could hopefully
find any other family at the time.
It was exciting. Um
There was a potential of finding people.
[Matt] Sharon had been
pregnant three times.
Once in high school,
the baby was supposed to be adopted.
Then it was Michael,
and here's this third one who was
given up for adoption in New Orleans.
And that's Megan.
Having that DNA
and knowing it was a positive match
meant that it'd just open up
this entire world of possibility.
And then that's when the National Center
for Missing and Exploited Children
came to the picture.
[pensive music playing]
In 2011, I inherited
a very small case file
about this girl named Sharon Marshall.
And I didn't have a lot to go on.
You know, after I read the book,
you know, with my little file again,
I had nowhere to turn to.
I didn't have a law enforcement agency
but Joe Fitzpatrick was
clearly a big player in all of this.
He told me about
how the case was inactive with the FBI,
and that there was never really
a case open on Sharon Marshall.
He was just able to work
that investigation
in conjunction with
the abduction of Michael Hughes.
When Joe stepped up to the plate
and said that he was going to help me, um,
you know, I I was I was ecstatic.
[Joe] When I received the call
from the National Center
for Missing and Exploited Children
I got excited about the fact that
I could get back into this case.
This was unfinished business.
This was something
I had made a great deal of progresson,
but never had a chance to
tie up the loose ends because I retired.
It gave me just a little hope.
But we needed we needed
another shot with Franklin Floyd.
He was sitting on death row.
He clearly had all the answers.
So we needed we needed
another interview with him.
[man] I got a call from
the National Center for Missing Children,
from an Ashley Rodriguez.
I started digging it on the file
and really trying to study who Floyd is.
He's He's my target and
I want to know everything I can about him.
[both sighing]
I told him, "He's gonna lie to you.
He's gonna lie to you something awful."
"If you get a truth out of him,
you're gonna be lucky."
I was not optimistic at all.
To be honest,
it was kind of like our last resort.
So the FBI deployed to Florida
to interview Franklin Floyd.
[man] I had three questions
I wanted answered.
One was, "Who is Sharon Marshall?"
"What happened to Michael?"
And, "Were you responsible
for the death of Sharon?"
Then I zeroed in
on the first one of who was she.
Because that's an easy question to answer.
He may not want to answer,
but it's he's not admitting to a murder.
And he would not talk about it.
He He just started shutting down,
and he started ranting.
We didn't even introduce ourselves
as FBI agents before he starts on a rant.
He thought we were his attorneys.
We had him seated.
We were standing while he was doing
this rant for good 45 minutes.
And I finally said,
"We're not your attorneys."
And he says, "Well, who the fuck are you?"
And I said, "We are FBI agents."
And he he cocks his head back
and goes, "What do you want?"
"Well, I'm reopening
the Michael Hughes investigation."
He goes,
"I'd appreciate it if you'd close it."
I said, "Well, I'm not gonna do that."
I said, "You wanted him to be
your your new Sharon."
"Sharon's out of the picture,
this is your new Sharon.
Michael's Michael's the one
that's gonna replace her."
And I kept talking to him,
and then he starts crying.
He was emotional
and that's that's an opportunity to me.
And Scott kind of slapped the table
enough to get his attention.
"How did you kill him, Floyd?"
And his his crocodile tears are flowing.
And I raise my voice,
"How did you kill him?"
He looks at me and says,
"Don't you do that."
And I finally
hit my fist down on the table,
"How did you kill him, Floyd?"
Waterworks turn off.
"I shot him twice in the back of the head
to make it real quick."
[tense music playing]
None of your damn business where he's at.
[reporter] For more than 20 years
no one knew what happened
to the little boy,
but now the FBI believes
they have answers.
Tears and sadness
from a family who abruptly lost a child.
And, Father, please tell him hi,
give him a hug, and then a kiss.
And we'll see him one day.
It hurts
to, uh, lose a child.
-He was almost our child.
-[Merle] Mm-hmm.
Uh, the adoption papers
were almost completed.
Uh, and he was kidnapped
before we could complete them.
All the kids counted him as a brother.
Uh, so everybody counted him
as one of ours.
The FBI says the suspect
in a cold case more than 20 years old
has confessed to murder.
Floyd says he buried the boy
near the Oklahoma Texas border.
We stayed out there for two full days.
Digging for two days,
sifting for two days.
And, uh, not a thing.
You know, we we gave it a 110 percent.
And just didn't find anything.
But I still wanted to know
who Sharon Marshall was.
And he bought in.
Partly because Floyd
loved to talk about himself.
It was funny. He was jumping,
he was telling a lot of stories.
And then all of a sudden,
he starts talking about how, um
How good looking he was,
and he's wearing a bus driver outfit
in in Cherryville, North Carolina, and
You know, he was the best bus driver
in the world.
And he tells us
that he meets a girl, Sandy.
She had just lost
her three kids to the state.
And Scott asked probably
one of the most brilliant questions.
He says, "What was your name at the time?"
Uh, Brandon Cleo Williams
was the name he gave us.
[suspenseful music playing]
And that was something
we had never heard before.
And when when he gave that name,
it gave us something.
And not only did he give us that name,
he walked us even further
and gives us thethe person that he met,
how they got married.
He gave us the date.
He was able to give us
the daughters' names
and even where the daughters were born.
So I said, "Who's the oldest?"
He goes, "Well, that's the one
you're here asking about."
"Where was she born?" "Livonia, Michigan."
"How do you know this?"
"I've seen the birth certificate."
He goes, "That's the girl you're looking.
That's the girl you're here asking about."
I I asked him,
"What What was the oldest girl's name?"
And he, "Well, it was Suzanne Sevakis."
[nostalgic music playing]
[baby cooing]
[baby laughing]
[music fades]
They told me what her identity was,
I sat there and it was just sort of, uh
Oh, I wasn't in a trance. I was just
just so delighted.
You know, I almost cried [laughs]
when I told that to him.
Oh shoot!
He goes, "We know her identity."
And he tells me
her name's Suzanne Sevakis.
I was like,
"Holy shit!"
I don't think relief is the right word
but that's kind of what I felt.
It was just like, it's over.
Like we now know who she is.
[Scott] The next day,
we get the birth certificate back.
And that birth certificate has
her parents' names on it.
Sandra Brandenburg and Clifford Sevakis.
Oh, by the way, they're both still alive.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Sandra] The FBI showed up on the door.
And then they showed me Susie's picture,
and I said, "That's my daughter."
"Do you know where she is?"
[gentle music playing]
She was very smart.
Very silly.
And very quick-witted.
I was 18 when I got pregnant
and I was 19 when she was born.
I was 17 when I started dating.
Cliff and I were in high school together.
[Cliff] She was about
two years younger than me.
But she was, uh, smart and funny,
and I was so smitten.
We were an item
all the way through high school.
[Sandra] We got married
right at the end of high school.
I got pregnant
a few months after we got married.
I was excited.
I was happy.
And I I couldn't wait
for the baby to come.
He was in Vietnam when she was born.
It was hard.
[Cliff] I had an R&R for a week,
and that's when
I saw Suzanne for the first time.
She was six months old.
It was a beautiful little cherub.
I was proud.
Your heart grows bigger
when you have a child.
But, uh, when I went to Vietnam,
you leave the rest of the world behind
and that's your whole world.
I was different when I got back
and, uh, she was seeing another guy.
And that's when Sandy told me
she wanted to divorce.
[Sandra] I had started seeing another man,
and I got pregnant with Allison and Amy.
But we got divorced.
And I moved the girls and I
to a trailer in a mobile home park.
The mobile home park was like on a hill.
You know, the tornado hit out of the blue,
I mean, and tipped my trailer sideways.
After the tornado, I had,
I guess now they would call itPTSD.
I can remember,
at one point, sitting in the corner,
in the living room, on the floor.
And And the girls saying,
"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"
and I couldn't move.
I went to Social Services because
I thought that's what you did to get help.
They They took the children.
I remember telling her and crying,
"It's not safe.
I can't take care of them."
The lady in the front
of the Social Services office, she said,
"Honey, go to church. You'll feel better."
Department of Social Services
called me up on the phone and said, uh.
"We want to adopt
all three girls out to one family."
"They're attached to each other
and we don't want to break up the set."
They gave me a choice, either adopt
all three or give up all three.
It was pretty rough on me.
I spent a weekend
drinking too much
and thinking about it too much.
And, uh, at the time,
I was living with my parents,
I was unemployed.
I was, uh, 23 years old, I think.
And I just didn't think I was going to be
a good parent, at that point.
I was still kind of messed up
from Vietnam.
[bell tolling]
[Sandra] When I went to that church,
I know I was crying,
'cause I was crying all the time,
and I couldn't stop crying.
And that's where I met him.
He just came and sat down,
and he just started talking to me
in in a calm voice.
You know, "What's wrong?"
"God sent me here to help you."
He said, "We'll go get your children."
"We'll get married, and I'll take care
of you and the children,
and everything will be all right."
After we were together,
he would do things that were scary things.
Once I realized the situation I was in
with him, I didn't know what to do.
And he he had a knife
that he carried all the time.
and he would reach down
to his side where the knife was,
and he'd say, "Do you think
you're going to leave me?"
That's not happening.
One time I needed
to buy the girls' diapers.
I had written a bad check at 7-Eleven.
So I got 30 days in jail.
And that's when he took my children.
I went to the police station immediately
and told the police
he had taken my children.
The police said,
"Are you legally married to him?"
And I said, "Yes."
And the police said, "That's a civil thing
you'll have to take care of yourself."
And I just kept getting louder
and louder and louder,
and they escorted me
out of the police station.
At some point,
and I don't know when exactly,
he had taken Allison and Amy
and dropped them off at the orphanage,
and took Susie and left.
[disturbing music playing]
You know, you can't go back and say,
"If I didn't"
"If I had found some way to get help."
"To get away from the whole situation,
then it never would've happened."
And I was supposed to be her mother
and protect her from that monster.
And I didn't.
I'm actually very angry at Sharon's mom.
I don't believe for one second that,
because this was back in the day,
that she couldn't find her child.
I was taken in 1976.
And for almost five years,
my mom contacted everyone.
Her Senator,
the Mayor, she went on TV.
She did everything she could.
And she wasn't an affluent person,
but she spent
all of the money she could looking for me.
My mother did everything,
and I just want to know why.
Why didn't she try harder?
I'll be honest.
I did reach out to her grandmother.
That didn't go well.
It's It's that, "I don't care" attitude.
When you reach out to someone
and they they have no interest,
that, to me mm-mm.
You don't care?
You don't want to know?
What kind of person are you?
I I just have a problem with that.
[wind whooshing]
[Matt] In 2003, when I was in Tulsa,
and I went to visit the cemetery,
I thought, you know, "Wouldn't it be cool
to come back here one day
and replace this headstone?"
It just had one name in it, Tonya.
And that bothered me.
So after learning her identity,
we decided, you know, I spoke with Megan.
And I said,
"Hey, you know, uh, let's do this."
Matt wanted my input on what
should be written on the headstone.
And I was like, "Holy crap.
That's a lot of responsibility."
She touched a lot of people in her life,
and I wanted to make sure that
it showed that she was
everything to everybody.
[bell tolling]
[minister] Father, I thank you
for this opportunity.
And I pray that you'd bring the comfort,
the strength, the heart
to the lives of those here.
Not only here today,
but wherever they might be.
[somber music playing]
There she is.
There she is.
[Matt] She was just 20 years old
when she died in 1990.
And it wasn't until June 2017
that we could change her tombstone.
And finally, put her real name there.
[Megan] She was the definition of a friend
to everyone.
The sound voice
and the the support system for people,
which is absolutely insane
because she had none of that at home.
And she did it all with such poise.
[somber music continues]
[Lynn] She finally had
the memorial service that she deserved.
That put a semicolon, for me, on there.
And, finally, she's at rest.
But she's still alive in my heart.
And when I go, maybe that's when
the period is. [chuckles]
[Jenny] It was, um, beautiful.
It was It was wonderful
to find out who she was.
Um, I remember just,
"Girl, I got your back," you know?
[Cliff] One of the things that got me most
was that she never knew who she was.
Knowing the people that were
part of her life really helped me out.
'Cause they don't have
such positive memories of her.
You get the feeling that,
at times, she was, uh,
making the most of the life she had.
I was excited excited that
[inhales deeply, clears throat]
we put her name
on a tombstone and it's her.
[Joe] It was important
to all of us, you know,it was
This was who she really was.
This is really her dad.
This is their daughter, you know?
Here's where she is,
here's where she lies,
and here's what her true name is.
Sheriff, just thank you.
I got so many new relationships
and more family than I needed.
[all laugh]
And I hope I can be half the mom
that she was or wanted to be.
Becoming a parent gave me
even more respect for my birth mother
because she gave up two children,
if not more,
knowing that it was better for the kids.
My son is named Michael.
He's named after my brother.
Michael didn't get to live out his name
and I wanted that name to keep going.
What I can do is, I can't talk to Suzanne,
but I can talk to Megan.
[solemn music playing]
And that will that will do.
[Megan] So I'm trying to figure out me,
but I know that this story
is going to help somebody.
I just got to figure out all the pieces
and how it shaped me,
And then I know
I'm gonna be able to share this.
[Heather] I just know
that she had a chance.
She would have been one of those persons
that would have been able
to overcome what happened to her.
If she had just gotten away from him,
she would have been an amazing survivor.
She had so much potential.
She had something to offer the world.
She really had a gift, and
that's how I'll always remember her.
[solemn music continues]
[gentle music playing]