REVIEW: ‘The Girl In The Picture’ Is Your Worst Nightmare Come To Life


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Unless you’re prepared, do not watch “The Girl In The Picture” and expect an easy night’s sleep afterwards.

It’s largely accepted by women that walking alone at night is a risk. We somewhat always live in fear of what can be done to us by the evil of the world. When we have daughters, we pray that nothing bad ever happens to them, that they’re shielded from the demonic behaviors of violent, lesser men.

“The Girl In The Picture” validates every single one of those fears.

The documentary film was released just over a week ago, so if you haven’t seen it, you’ll probably get a few spoilers in this article. Honestly though, I’d rather you read this quick piece than have to sit through one of the most unsettling, sickening stories in modern true crime history.

It all started when Tonya Hughes, a 20-year-old mother, was found dead at the side of the road in 1990. Not long after, her infant son was kidnapped from his foster parents and school at gunpoint by a man who claimed to be his biological father and Hughes’ husband.

Only, he wasn’t the boy’s biological father. He wasn’t Hughes’ husband, either. We soon learn that the man had spent much of the 15 years prior claiming to be Hughes’ father. The man, Franklin Floyd, repeatedly beat her, raped her and normalized her to a revolting system of sexual, emotional and physical abuse that transformed her from an expert student to a stripper and prostitute.

Floyd raped Hughes in front of her best friend, who tells the graphic story in the documentary. He was also the father to not one, but at least three children that Hughes is known to have had in her short life. (RELATED: ‘Manipulated And Groomed’: Retired Green Beret Explains Why So Many Women Go Missing)

The thing is, he wasn’t her father either. And her name wasn’t Tonya Hughes. Nor was it “Sharon Marshall,” the name she grew up with during her horrendous yet academically superior teenage years. Her name was Suzanne Marie Sevakis, and she was kidnapped by Floyd from her mother when she was just five or six years-old.

While Suzanne’s story does not have a happy ending, it sheds light on two important topics: missing children and domestic abuse. One in three women has experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the NCADV. Put another way, one in three women will experience a romantic relationship with a man who abuses them.

Writing this statistic with the emphasis on women seems to take away from the fact that it is overwhelmingly men who choose to commit acts of domestic violence like this. Saying “one in three women will be abused” almost makes it sound like a normal occurrence, when it absolutely should not be.

Statistics vary, but some outlets have suggested that a child goes missing in the United States every 90 or so seconds, according to the High Court. Overall, there were 337,195 children reported missing in 2021, the National Center for Missing And Exploited Children reported.

I’m not trying to offer any solutions to these crises. Nor do I think that this haunting documentary will change what women and children have to experience at the hands of evil. (RELATED: ‘Shut The F*ck Up’: JK Rowling Says Her Ex-Husband Tried To Make Her ‘Comply,’ Won’t Give In To Cancel Culture)

What I do hope is that we can start reframing the conversation away from women and children as victims, and put a new emphasis of blame, shame, and unacceptance on the heads of those committing these horrific acts.