This article was one of our best read stories of 2022.
The “disturbing” real story of a woman whose body was found dumped on the side of a road has left TV viewers horrified.
Netflix released the gripping true-crime documentary Girl in the Picture recently, which delves into the baffling cold case of a 20-year-old American woman who died in a suspected hit-and-run incident in April 1990.
Detectives quickly identified the Oklahoma woman as Tonya Hughes, a mum-of-one who worked as a stripper in a local nightclub.
She was married to a man who identified himself as Clarence Marcus Hughes, 41, – but after she died from her injuries in hospital he ceded custody of their 2-year-old son Michael to the state and fled.
An investigation into the circumstances surrounding Tonya's death found that Clarence Hughes was an alias, and he was actually a fugitive called Franklin Delano Floyd who had been on the run since 1973.
Tonya was in fact Suzanne Marie Sevakis, a girl who had been kidnapped by Floyd as a young child in the 1970s.
But it took detectives until 2014 to finally get her real name from Floyd after years of unanswered questions.
Why was Franklin Delano Floyd wanted?
In 1963 Floyd had been convicted of kidnapping and molesting a 4-year-old girl and sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to The Independent.
A week after his release in 1973, he was arrested again for assaulting a woman at a gas station. He had a friend post his bond and he skipped town before his trial – meeting Suzanne's mum Sandi Chipman under a new alias "Brandon Williams" in 1974.
Sandi, who had four children from a previous relationship, married Floyd a month after their fateful encounter on a bus in Dallas, Texas.
But when Sandi was jailed for writing bad cheques and sentenced to 30 days in jail, Floyd abducted her four kids.
She was later able to locate her younger daughters, Allison and Amy, in the care of social services but never found 5-year-old Suzanne Sevakis or her youngest child Philip, the US Sun reports.
Floyd's abduction of Suzanne
Philip ended up in the adoption system, and was only identified following a DNA test in 2020 – while Suzanne remained Floyd's hostage until the day she died.
Floyd pretended to raise Suzanne as his daughter, during which time she was known as Sharon Marshall while he went by "Warren Marshall".
A school friend of Suzanne's told the Netflix doco a harrowing account of the only night she stayed at her friend "Sharon's" house – and lay on the floor of her bedroom while her "dad" raped her.
Suzanne – living under the name Sharon at the time – grew up to be a "smart and beautiful" student who received a full scholarship to Georgia Tech University to study aerospace engineering.
However, before she could attend college, she became pregnant with another man's baby and disappeared with Floyd.
It was at this point the pair took on their "Clarence and Tonya Hughes" identities and moved to Tampa, Florida.
After giving birth to her son Michael, Floyd forced Suzanne to marry him in 1989 with the nuptials taking place during a trip to New Orleans.
Less than a year later, she was found at the side of the road. She died in hospital five days later.
Floyd's crimes unravelled
As a result of "Tonya's" death, police began to uncover the truth about her life, including that Michael wasn't her husband's son.
After the tot had been placed in the foster care system Floyd – under the alias of "Clarence" – was allowed visitation rights.
For nearly four years he lived a happy life with his foster parents, who say Michael referred to his dad as "that mean man".
But after social services ordered a paternity test, which confirmed that Floyd had no biological connection to the boy, his parental rights were terminated.
On September 12, 1994, he reportedly entered the boy's primary school, holding Michael and the principal James Davis hostage at gunpoint, the US Sun reports.
Police said he forced Davis into a wooded area and handcuffed him to a tree before running off with the boy.
Around the same time officers discovered "Clarence" had tried to collect his dead wife's life insurance policy under a Social Security number belonging to his true name, Franklin Delano Floyd.
Tonya was identified as Sharon Marshall when her old high school friends reached out to officials after seeing her photo on TV.
But friends of Sharon insisted "Clarence" wasn't her husband – but her dad "Marshall".
And when police compared her birthday to his previous stints in jail, they knew Floyd couldn't be either.
However, it took until 2014 to finally identity her as Suzanne Servakis.
'Crazy' criminal finally captured
Two months after Floyd kidnapped Michael, was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky and was later sentenced to 52 years for the abduction of the boy who has tragically never been found.
But the search for the boy unearthed dozens of photographs of nude children that were found taped to the underneath of the Floyd's stolen truck.
One of the images among the disturbing pile were later be identified as a woman named Cheryl Ann Comesso – a co-worker of Suzanne's at the strip club where she worked – who had disappeared in Tampa, Florida, in April 1989.
Cheryl's skeletal remains were found in March 1995. She had been shot twice in the head. Floyd was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death in 2002, crime TV channel Oxygen reported recently.
In 2013, police reopened the cold case into "Sharon Marshall" in an attempt to uncover her true identity. The following year, investigators sat down with Floyd in prison, and he finally gave them the name they'd been waiting years for – Suzanne Marie Sevakis.
DNA also later discovered Suzanne had two more secret children with her captor Floyd. While the whereabouts of one still remains a mystery – Megan Dufrense has been identified as Suzanne's daughter. She was born during the trip to New Orleans where her mum was forced to marry her rapist and abductor.
Global shock at Suzanne's story
Audiences around the world have been horrified, shocked and heartbroken in equal measure after Suzanne's tragic story was shared in Netflix's new documentary, Girl in the Picture.
On Twitter, many have shared their sadness at learning of Suzanne's suffering as many others labelled it "crazy", "disturbing" and "bonkers".
Others praised the detectives, who feature heavily on the show, for their "incredible" work finally cracking the case and sharing Suzanne's story.
During the documentary, investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck shares a harrowing photo of Suzanne he uncovered taken with her captor – taken when Floyd was posing as her father.
"It was a picture of a little girl and her father. The more you looked at the picture and the more you looked at her, you could see that something was terribly wrong," he said.
Floyd, now 79, is still on death row in Florida for his crimes.