Detectives have been trying to solve this cold case for years – maybe you can help.
Blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful and blessed with a bubbly personality – the quintessential girl next door. That was Sharon Marshall. She was also very intelligent, an avid reader near the top of her high school class, listed in Who’s Who of American High School Students, a Lt. Colonel in the ROTC and she had earned a full scholarship to Georgia Tech University where she planned to study aerospace engineering. Sharon proudly graduated from high school in Forest Park, GA in 1986.
Only her name wasn’t really Sharon Marshall – she didn’t know what her real name was. Nor did she know who her parents were or even what day, month, year or in which city or state she was born. It is thought that Sharon was born sometime in the late 1960’s although no one knows for sure because Sharon had been kidnapped when she was just a toddler, probably sometime between 1973-1975.
Franklin Delano Floyd, a psychopath, sexual predator and convicted felon, abducted and raised Sharon as his own daughter while posing as her ailing father, all the while sexually abusing her from a very young age. Floyd would later claim that he had “rescued” Sharon when she was unwanted and abandoned by her biological parents.
The first known public record of Sharon exists in 1975 in an Oklahoma City school where she was registered under the alias “Suzanne Davis“.
SUZANNE DAVIS – 1975
Sharon’s good natured personality and good grades ultimately worked against her. Although she had few friends and sometimes dressed inappropriately, no one was suspicious of the young lady who had to be home by 4:30 p.m. everyday to help her sick father or wondered why she moved so often that she was in the fourth school in a single year during her high school career. If anyone did get curious and questioned her about the whereabouts of her mother, Sharon would explain that when she was a young girl her mother had died of cancer or she was known to tell others, her mother had died in a fatal car accident. When the questions became too probing or intense Floyd and Sharon would pick up and move to places like Oklahoma City, Louisville, Atlanta, Phoenix, Tampa, New Orleans and Tulsa.
It is known that upon her graduation Sharon moved to Phoenix, AZ. Sometime during the next couple of years Floyd and Sharon moved to Tampa, FL where she gave birth to a baby boy on March 21, 1988 using the alias “Tonya Dawn Tadlock”. She subsequently named the baby Michael Anthony Hughes and it is thought she used the last name Hughes because at the time, Floyd was using the aliases Charles Hughes and Clarence Marcus Hughes although, he also used many other aliases over the span of his criminal career. The natural assumption is that Floyd was Michael’s biological father, however, this theory was disproved with DNA test results in the 1990’s.
Sharon Marshall & Michael Hughes
Franklin Delano Floyd
During this time period, Sharon began to work as an exotic dancer, her dreams of studying aerospace engineering by now a distant memory. Sharon made friends with Cheryl Ann Commesso, 19, an exotic dancer who worked at the same club. Cheryl was beaten and killed by two shots to the back of the head in 1989. She was dumped along Florida Interstate 275 and for a long time was known simply as “Jane Doe I-275″. Soon after, Floyd and Sharon left Florida and shortly after that, the trailor they had occupied burned to the ground.
In yet another twist to this stranger than fiction story, Sharon and Floyd were married in 1989 in New Orleans under the aliases Clarence Marcus Hughes and Tonya Dawn Tadlock. Floyd and Sharon, along with Michael, then headed to Oklahoma.
In April of 1990 Sharon was killed in a suspicious hit and run accident while both she and Floyd were being sought in connection with Cheryl Ann Commesso’s murder investigation. Floyd remains the primary suspect in the hit and run that killed his daughter/wife.
After his mother’s death, when DNA test results proved conclusively that Floyd was not Michael’s biological father, Floyds visitation rights were terminated and Michael was put into foster care. His foster parents, who had begun formal adoption proceedings, reported that when he first came to them Michael was non-verbal, had limited muscle control and often exhibited hysterical behavior. While in their care, however, Michael apparently made great progress.
In the final twist to this bizarre and sad story, Michael was kidnapped by Floyd from Indian Meridian Elementary School in Choctaw, OK on September 12, 1994. He held school officials at gunpoint and forced Michael and the school principal into the principal’s pick-up truck. Eventually Floyd let the principal go, basically unharmed but traumatized, tied to a tree. Young Michael was never seen again.
Floyd was arrested two months later in Kentucky where he steadfastedly refused to give any information as to Michael’s whereabouts. Floyd claimed Michael was out of the country or possibly in the Atlanta, GA area. However, multiple witnesses have come forward saying Floyd confessed to them that he murdered Michael by drowning him in a bathtub, somewhere in the Atlanta area. Still other witnesses say they saw Floyd bury Michael’s’ body in a grave. Floyd was tried and sentenced to 55 yrs in prison for Michael’s kidnapping.
Some time later, a mechanic working on Floyd’s old pick-up truck, which had been auctioned, discovered a multitude of photos wedged over the gas tank. The explicit photographs clearly proved Sharon had been subjected to sexual abuse her entire life. In addition, photos showing Cheryl Ann Commesso beaten and bound and sitting on the sofa in Floyd’s old trailor in Florida, were discovered along with photos of other females. These photographs were used as evidence against Floyd in the Commesso murder trial in 2002 where he was later convicted and sent to death row.
After Sharon’s death, upon further investigation into Floyd’s background, investigators learned that he was a career criminal who had first been arrested at the age of 17 in a gunfight with law enforcement during a burglary. Floyd was also arrested for abducting and raping a young woman at a bowling alley in 1962. All told, Floyd has admitted to convicting at least 19 felonies.
Floyd has not been convicted of either Sharon or Michael’s murders but is still under investigation for both crimes. He has a documented history of schizophrenia, was raised by two alcoholic parents and at some point was turned over to an orphanage by his mother who never came back to retrieve him. Floyd’s defense attorneys presented these facts in his defense at his trials in an attempt to solicit sympathy from the juries.
Franklin Delano Floyd now sits on death row at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, FL.
Sadly, Michael Hughes has never been located and is presumed dead. His mother “Sharon Marshall” still remains unidentified and is buried in Choctaw, OK.
Real Name: Unknown
- Sharon Marshall (most commonly used alias)
- Suzanne Davis (mostly when she was a young child)
- Tonya Hughes
- Tonya Dawn Tadlock
Real Name: Franklin Delano Floyd
- Charles Hughes
- Clarence Marcus Hughes
- Trenton Davis
- Warren Judson Marshall
- Preston Morgan
- Kingfish Floyd
If you have any information about Michael or Sharon, please contact the Choctaw, OK Police Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
If you found this case interesting and would like to learn more about Sharon and Michael and this fascinating case, I highly recommend author Matt Birkbeck’s terrific book ” A Beautiful Child”. It’s one of the best true crime stories I have ever read. Warning: once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve finished reading it!