Franklin Delano Floyd
|Franklin Delano Floyd|
Family photo of Franklin Delano Floyd and Sharon Marshall/Suzanne Maree Sevakis
|Born||June 17, 1943|
|Other names||Warren Marshall, Clarence Marcus Hughes|
|Conviction(s)||Murder of Cheryl Ann Commesso, kidnapping of Michael Anthony Hughes|
|Imprisoned at||Union Correctional Institution|
Franklin Delano Floyd (born June 17, 1943) is an American death row inmate. He was convicted of the 1989 murder of Cheryl Ann Commesso, an exotic dancer from Florida, as well as the kidnapping of his step-son from his elementary school in Choctaw, Oklahoma. Floyd is also considered a person of interest in the hit-and-run death of his wife Sharon Marshall. It was later discovered that prior to becoming his wife, Sharon was raised by Floyd from an early age as his daughter and was herself kidnapped by Floyd as a child.
Her true identity remained a mystery until 2014 when she was positively identified as Suzanne Maree Sevakis, the daughter of a woman to whom Floyd was briefly married. He disappeared with Suzanne while her mother was serving a 30 day jail sentence.
Lead up to abduction of Michael Hughes
Authorities began investigating Franklin Delano Floyd in April 1990 when his wife, Sharon Marshall, was found dead in a suspicious hit-and-run accident. Sharon Marshall went by a number of aliases, including Tonya Tadlock, which is how her coworkers at the time referred to her. At the time of her death, Marshall and Floyd were suspects in the 1989 disappearance of 18-year-old Cheryl Ann Commesso, a former coworker of Sharon Marshall. Commesso disappeared following an angry confrontation with Floyd. Floyd was considered the lead suspect in his wife's death as well.
Following the death of his wife, Floyd put their 2-year-old son, Michael Hughes, into foster care and left the state. His foster parents told authorities that he had limited muscle control, was non-verbal, and often experienced hysterical behavior when he first arrived at their home but he had made remarkable progress. In 1994, they began adoption proceedings.
Six months after Hughes was placed in foster care, Floyd was arrested on a parole violation. As part of the adoption process, Hughes' DNA was compared to Floyd's to establish paternity. It was discovered at that time that Floyd was not Hughes' biological father. When Floyd was released from jail, he attempted to regain custody of Hughes. On the basis of his criminal record and the discovery that he had no biological relation, his request was denied.
On September 12, 1994, Michael was in the first grade at Indian Meridian Elementary School. Floyd walked into the school and forced the principal at gun point to bring him to Hughes' classroom. Floyd forced Hughes and principal James Davis into his pick up truck. Floyd forced the principal out of the truck in a wooded area, handcuffed him around a tree and sped off with Michael. The principal survived the abduction and was rescued.
Two months later, Floyd was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky. Michael Hughes was not with him and has not been seen since. Government authorities have received conflicting reports as to what has happened to Hughes. Some witness statements detail alleged confessions by Floyd regarding Michael's death. According to these reports, Floyd reportedly told his sister that he drowned the child in a Georgia motel's bathtub shortly after the kidnapping. Other witnesses stated that Floyd told them he murdered Michael in the same manner, while another person claimed he saw Floyd bury Michael's body in a cemetery.
Other sources report that Floyd has stated that Hughes is still alive and safe, although Floyd had refused to disclose Hughes' exact location (citing vague locations such as "outside the U.S." or "in Atlanta, Georgia") or who is presently caring for him. In his most recent contact with the FBI, he admitted to killing Michael, although he did not disclose any further details.
Sharon Marshall's background
The investigation into Marshall's death and Hughes' kidnapping uncovered more unsolved mysteries. It was discovered that Floyd's wife, Sharon Marshall, was actually raised by him. DNA testing to determine the paternity of Marshall uncovered that she was not the biological child of Floyd's. Floyd has given a number of inconsistent statements regarding how she came to be in his custody. One such story is that he had “rescued” Sharon when she was abandoned by her biological parents. The earliest known record of Sharon was her elementary school registration 1975 in an Oklahoma City school. She was registered under the alias “Suzanne Davis“. Authorities suspected that Sharon was born in the late 1960s and kidnapped by Floyd between 1973 and 1975.
It was revealed in October 2014 that Sharon Marshall was positively identified as Suzanne Sevakis, a North Carolina child who had gone missing with her stepfather, Franklin Delano Floyd, in 1975. DNA matched the mother of Suzanne Sevakis to Sharon. Floyd had been left to care for the woman's three daughters and baby boy while she went to jail for a small crime for 30 days. When she was released, he and the children were gone. She later located two of the daughters, but Suzanne and the baby boy were never found. The boy's fate is unknown. Sevakis's mother attempted to file kidnapping charges, but was told by local authorities that as their stepfather, he had a right to take the children.
Sharon Marshall graduated from high school in Forest Park, Georgia in 1986. She was a good student who earned a full scholarship to Georgia Tech University to study aerospace engineering. Despite this, she did not go to college and instead moved to Tampa, Florida with Floyd where she gave birth to her son in 1988. Marshall began working as an exotic dancer and married Floyd in 1989 in New Orleans under the aliases Clarence Marcus Hughes and Tonya Dawn Tadlock.
Cheryl Ann Commesso
Commesso's 1989 disappearance remained unsolved until her skeletal remains were found by a landscaper in an area off Interstate 275 in Pinellas County, Florida in 1995. She was listed as a Jane Doe until a year later when the remains were identified. An anthropologist determined that she died from a beating and two gunshots to the head. Floyd and Marshall had been persons of interest in the case after coworkers witnessed an altercation between Floyd and Commesso. Floyd accused Commesso of reporting Sharon Marshall for misstating her income and subsequently losing government benefits. The argument occurred outside the club where Sharon and Cheryl Commesso worked as exotic dancers. A coworker reported that Floyd punched Commesso in the face. Floyd and Marshall fled to Oklahoma shortly after she disappeared and their trailer was burned to the ground in what was ruled intentional arson.
In March 1995, a mechanic in Kansas found a large envelope stuffed between the truck bed and the top of the gas tank of a truck he had recently purchased at auction. He found 97 photos in the envelope, including many photos of a woman who was bound and severely beaten. The police traced the truck to Floyd. Floyd had stolen the truck in Oklahoma in September 1994, but had abandoned it in Texas the following month. Investigators compared the photos of the injured woman with Commesso as well as evidence found with her remains and found that the clothing in the photos was similar. The medical examiner also compared injuries seen in the photograph to the cheekbone of Commesso’s skull and found that they were consistent. Many of the pictures contained images of furniture and other belongings identified as belonging to Floyd. He was tried and convicted for the murder of Cheryl Ann Commesso on the basis of the photographic evidence found in the truck.
The investigation into the kidnapping of Michael Anthony Hughes as well as the earlier kidnapping of his mother are ongoing. Other photos found in the truck show sexual abuse of Sharon Marshall starting very early in her childhood. Authorities found photos of her in sexually explicit poses at various ages, starting around the age of four.
Floyd has a lengthy criminal record. He was first arrested in 1960 at the age of 17 after a gunfight with police following a robbery. Two years later, he was convicted of the abduction and rape of a young girl from a bowling alley. In 1973, after serving a federal prison sentence for a 1963 bank robbery conviction, Floyd fled the area while on parole, and was a fugitive at the time of the Commesso murder. It was discovered that Floyd suffers from a number of mental disorders, including schizophrenia. In 2001, while awaiting trial for the Commesso murder, Judge Nancy Ley ruled that Floyd was incompetent to stand trial and ordered for him to undergo further mental evaluation. Floyd himself fought against this assessment, asserting that he was competent. Several months later, the judge reversed her previous ruling and ordered him to stand trial. He was convicted and sentenced to death.
- List of kidnappings
- List of United States death row inmates
- Disappearance of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos
- Murder of Holly Bobo
- Disappearance of Zebb Quinn
- Child molestation
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