OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — An Oklahoma kidnapping case is back in the spotlight thanks to Netflix’s new documentary “Girl in the Picture.” The film lays out all of the case’s bizarre twists and turns that gripped Oklahomans for years.
Here’s the backstory on the death of Tonya Dawn Hughes 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. She was found on the side of a highway service road by a bystander. Although she was rushed to a nearby hospital, she later died from her injuries.
Following her death, secrets and lies are revealed that put everything investigators thought they knew into question.
Investigators take viewers down the rabbit hole as they search for the true identity of Tonya Hughes and later, the kidnapping of her 6-year-old son, Michael.
The kidnapping made headlines after a man walked into an elementary school in Choctaw, which is about 20 miles from Oklahoma City, with a gun, and kidnapped the boy and the school’s principal.
The principal was ultimately found tied to a tree, but Michael was nowhere to be found. Authorities determined that the suspect in the case was Tonya’s husband, Clarence Hughes.
As information and tips poured into the FBI, they soon realized that Clarence Hughes wasn’t who they thought he was. As it turns out, Clarence Hughes was an alias for Franklin Delano Floyd, a felon. They also learned that he wasn’t Tonya’s husband — he was her father.
Investigators continued to search for Clarences Hughes, but something wasn’t adding up. 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 prison at the time of her birth.
The revelation sent them on a journey to determine Tonya’s real identity that would last more than a decade.
FBI investigators ultimately learned 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 of Sevakis’ death, he was never charged. He was convicted of Michael’s kidnapping and later admitted to shooting and killing the boy. His body has never been found.
Floyd is currently sitting on Florida’s death row. His execution date has not been set.