Girl in the Picture ending explained – who was Sharon Marshall?

July 6, 2022 (Last updated: January 31, 2023)
M.N. Miller 4
Ending Explained, Film, Netflix, Streaming Service

This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Girl in the Picture, which will contain spoilers. 

Ready Steady Cut film critic M.N. Miller says, “Girl in the Picture will satisfy true crimes fix for real-life mysteries, but this time the victim’s tragedy and despair are more haunting than most.

Skye Borgman’s documentary Girl in the Picture starts with a young woman brought into a hospital after a hit and run. Eventually, her much older blunt husband, Clarence, shows up. He says her name is Tonya Hughes. Many of her injuries, including bruises and scratch marks across her chest, appear to have been caused by human hands. She died a fleeting time later. The police, though, in Oklahoma stated that there was not enough evidence that her husband did it. Tonya was a dancer at a strip club, and her coworkers tried to track down her family. They did, in Alabama. But the mother did not know what they were talking about — this woman’s daughter died when she was only 18 months old.

Tonya and Clarence Hughes have a young son named Michael. When Tonya died, he was taken to child protective services after a week. They show a news clip of Clarence talking passionately about why he should have custody returned to him. He explained in open court how he was grieving, and not changing one diaper should not mean he does not love his son. Michael was placed with a sister couple who noted how frightened the child was when supervised visits came up. Clarence eventually filed for custody and took a paternity test — shockingly, Michael was not his child. He had no biological relation to him whatsoever. Clarence takes matters into his own hands after his custody is terminated. He kidnaps Michael at gunpoint at his school.

Clarence’s real name is Franklin Floyd. Tonya’s name is Sharon Marshall. Well, that is not exactly true. We will get to that later. Before moving to Oklahoma, they lived in Georgia. Tonya went by Sharon then to high school and dreamed of attending Georgia Tech. Clarence, who was Warren Marshal then, was her father. Yes, you read that right. All of Tonya’s friends found him strict and weird. Especially all their parents, where her best friend was not allowed to stay over at the house. He would go buy his daughter expensive lingerie, and when most families arranged a baby photo in the senior yearbook, he handed in a glamour shot of his child. Sharon earned a scholarship to her dream school, but he would not let her go. She became pregnant, and he made her give up the child.

They moved to Florida, keeping the same aliases. Sharon was now working at a strip club where he made her proposition patrons for sex for 50 dollars a night. Except, this was when she went by Tonya. She befriended a fellow dancer there named Cheryl. They were both 18 years of age. Floyd told Cheryl that he could get her into Playboy. He often visited Cheryl at the club and was witnessed striking her in the parking lot. This was two years later when before she worked as a dancer, Tonya became pregnant with Michael. They then moved to Oklahoma, but Cheryl went missing. Warren Marshall and Tonya filed for a marriage license in New Orleans on their way to Tulsa. They picked up new aliases from tombstones in Alabama. He became Clarence Hughes, and she was Tonya Tadlock — which was printed on their marriage license.

That is where we have come full circle. After Tonya’s death and Michael’s kidnapping, the medical examiner changed the end to homicide because she suffered from hematoma from an injury to the back of the head. While on the run, he tried to file a life insurance claim on Tonya. However, he used the social security number that belonged to Franklin Floyd. When they caught him, he would not tell anyone where Michael was.

While covering the case, the investigative reporter saw a picture of Floyd with a young girl. Something that looked like a family photo you would take at Sears. The child in his lap, who could not be more than five years old, seems incredibly sad — a sign from behavioral experts a child is being abused.

Netflix documentary film Girl in the Picture ending explained 

Floyd ran with his “daughter” in Florida because he murdered Cheryl in 1989. Floyd was arrested in 1995 for their kidnapping charge of Michael and charged with Cheryl’s murder in 1997. The Girl in the Picture was, in fact, Tonya/Sharon. So, Floyd did marry his daughter? Not exactly. He has no biological connection to her. They found out the picture was taken in 1973, but Floyd was just paroled from prison earlier that year — Sharon could not have been his daughter.

So, what happened? Her name was Suzanne Sevakis. Her mother, who had three children (though the documentary leaves out that she had four), became involved with Floyd. When she went to jail for 30 days, Suzane’s father had a chance to adopt her, but child services said he must adopt all three girls because they were a package deal. He refused, and custody went to Floyd. He later left with Floyd, who took off only with Suzanne. Independent research shows Tonya/Sharon/Suzanne had a couple of pregnancies, and the film highlights a daughter of the Girl in the Picture was found. She connects with her biological grandfather, and they all have a service for Suzanne at her grave.

Michael’s body has never been discovered. Two FBI agents managed to get Floyd to admit he shot Michael twice in the back of the head.

What do you think of the Netflix documentary film Girl in the Picture and the ending? Comment below.

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4 thoughts on “Girl in the Picture ending explained – who was Sharon Marshall?

  • July 7, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    So who was the father of Suzanne’s daughter

  • July 16, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    Not sure what is so shocking and horrifiying about this.. how everyone is making it to be

  • July 16, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    Isn’t Elon Musk’s own father more disturbing then this?

  • September 25, 2022 at 12:13 am

    I was adopted against my will at six and abused until I was old enough to escape. I can understand how the world lets these things happen.

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