Screenshot via YouTube
Content warning: References to murder and child abuse.
Netflix will release a new true crime documentary next month. The girl in the picturedirected by Sky Borgman, who in 2017 filmed Maddening Kidnapped in plain sight. The film is based on a book Pretty Baby and accompaniment Looking for SharonMatt Birkbeck.
The disturbing mystery is still unsolved, and fans of the genre are hoping that by shedding new light on the 30-year-old case, we can get closer to solving it, as similar films, such as the 2018 film, do. I will leave in the dark led to the arrest and conviction of Joseph James DeAngelo, the Golden State assassin.
True crime podcasts such as Kill Squad — featuring Billy Jenson and Paul Holes — are also responsible for bringing the killers to justice. rolling stone reported that the podcast’s frequent call to action for its listeners to submit DNA samples to GEDmatch — a database used by law enforcement to collect ancestry information from its users to solve cold cases — led to the arrest of killer and kidnapper James Curtis Clanton.
Now the real crime sleuths, as they are called, are counting down the days until this new movie comes out, just like us.
Franklin Delano Floyd
In 1962, Franklin Delano Floyd was convicted of kidnapping and molesting a 4-year-old child in Georgia. A year later, he escaped from prison and robbed a bank. He was captured and released on parole after 10 years. Within a month, he was charged with assaulting a woman.
In April 1990, his wife Sharon Marshall was found dead in a suspicious hit-and-run. Sharon went on a night shopping trip for children’s goods. She was killed on her way back to the motel where they were staying. It looks like she was hit by a car, but there was a blunt trauma on the back of her head.
Her two-year-old son Michael Hughes was kidnapped by Floyd and placed in foster care. The adoptive parents wanted to start the adoption process. Michael was developmentally delayed, but he felt good in their care.
At the same time, Floyd was arrested for violating parole. The adoption process required a DNA test, which showed that Floyd was not Michael’s biological father. When Floyd got out of prison, he unsuccessfully tried to regain custody of Michael.
In September 1994, Floyd armed Michael entered Michael’s school and kidnapped him by force. Two months later, Floyd was arrested in Kentucky.
Floyd admitted to shooting Michael twice in the back of the head. He told the FBI where they could find his body, but no remains were ever found.
Cheryl Ann Commesso
At the time Sharon was killed, she was an exotic dancer but went to college to become an engineer. In 1989, one of Sharon’s colleagues, 18-year-old Cheryl Ann Commesso, disappeared.
The skeletal remains of a woman were found by a Florida landscaper in 1995. But she remained a Jane Doe. In March of that year, the mechanic found a large envelope between the body and the top of the gas tank of a truck he had recently bought at auction.
The envelope contained 97 photographs, including many photographs of a bound and severely beaten woman. The truck was tracked to Floyd, and investigators compared photographs of the woman to the skeletal remains found. They were able to match several clues found with the remains to items in the photographs, including clothing and personal items, that were identified as Floyd’s property. The medical examiner was even able to match the damage to the woman’s face in the pictures with Jane Doe’s skeletal face, which matched. She died from beatings and two shots to the head.
Floyd was tried and found guilty of Commesso’s murder. Also among the photos are images of Sharon Marshall, who was sexually abused from the age of four.
Floyd met Sandy, a divorced woman with three daughters and a son, in 1974. In late spring 1975, Sandy was arrested in Dallas for writing a false diaper check. She served 30 days in prison, and while she was in prison, Floyd disappeared with all four children.
When Sandy was released, she found her two daughters in foster families, and Sharon and her son were gone. She tried to charge him with kidnapping, but local authorities say that as a stepfather, Floyd had the right to take the children.
The girl in the picture
Sharon was raised as Floyd’s daughter. DNA analysis of her remains showed they were unrelated. He gave a number of conflicting statements as to how she came under his care. He told everyone that he saved her when her parents abandoned her. The boy was never found.
Sharon was registered under an alias at Oklahoma City High School in 1975. She was suspected to have been born in the late 60s, abducted between 73 and 75, they left town again, and she became Floyd’s wife. After all this, he killed her, and the reason is unknown, but it is speculated that it may have something to do with Floyd’s knowledge of his non-paternal connection to his wife’s son.
Floyd is currently on death row for Commesso’s murder. He is still under investigation for the kidnapping of Michael Hughes and Sharon Marshall. After Sharon’s death, they analyzed her DNA and found that she was indeed Sandy’s missing daughter. What did Floyd tell Sharon about her mother? Did she grow up thinking that he really was her father? Things might have turned out very differently for his victims if Floyd’s crimes had been treated as such early on.
The combination of events that brought these women and children into the clutches of a murderer and child molester is perhaps an indictment against society. Presumably, more facts about this terrible case will become known in The girl in the picture. This is a sad story about a girl who has never known a life without abuse.