Girl In The Picture Updates: Skye Bergman’s reign is being challenged by the new true crime documentary Girl in the Picture on Netflix. In 2017, she released the film Abducted in Plain Sight, which details how her parents’ friend and neighbour Robert Berchtold abducted Jan Broberg twice and subjected her to long-term abuse.
The strangeness of the nearly unbelievable story nonetheless stood out in a crowded field. You would have dismissed the book as the creation of a fool having a fever dream if it had been a novel.But as it explores the growing mystery around an ostensibly straightforward hit-and-run case, the tale of Girl in the Picture is, if anything, even sadder and stranger.In Oklahoma, a 20yearold woman is discovered by the side of the road with groceries all over her.
She later passes away in the hospital from her injuries, which staff members note are very different from those you might expect to see on a victim of a car accident. Their two-year old son Michael is given to a foster family while her much older husband Clarence is being investigated. Tonya Hughes is identified as the deceased, and her mother is contacted. She tells them her daughter died when she was a toddler when she answers.
After two years, the foster family starts the adoption process, keeping Michael for a total Of four years. Michael refers to Clarence as “that terrible man,” and he battles them for custody at every turn.Following the termination of his parental rights due to a paternity test that shows Michael is not his biological child, Clarence abducts Michael from school, and the two of them vanish.
We learn that FBI agent Joe Fitzpatrick is hired to try to find them and learns that Franklin Floyd attempted to make a claim on Tonya’s life insurance. When he tugs on that thread, a 20year web of dishonesty starts to fall apart. Clarence is Floyd, a wanted felon since 1973 who has been convicted of crimes including kidnapping and sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl.As the plot develops, we find out that discovering Tonya’s real identity is more difficult. She initially gives the impression to be Sharon Marshall.
She is remembered by the women she was friends with in high school as the lovely, “supersmart,” and ambitious youngster with a full scholarship to Georgia Tech and dreams to become an aeronautical engineer. They also recall Sharon’s peculiar and rigid father. And one of them recalls him raping Sharon while she was lying next to her at the Marshall house during a rare overnight. Sharon afterwards consoled her. “Dad’s the same way. Let it go; I’m OK, you’re OK. When she later saw her poor, abused friend’s face on the news, along with “Tonya’s” much older husband, she told no one but Joe Fitzpatrick.
By the end, you are in disbelief at the scope of the monstrosity revealed. More threads are pulled, more suffering is revealed, more murder, more aliases, and more abuse.
The image in the title shows a six-year-old girl named Sharon sitting on her father’s knee with an expression that can only be described as inappropriate for a child’s face. The victims are kept at the forefront of the narrative, which is something that all contemporary films profess to accomplish but that very few actually succeed in doing, as they do here and in Abducted in Plain Sight.By the book’s conclusion, it appeared that every effort had been taken to re-establish Suzanne Sevakis as Tonya/genuine Sharon’s name, and that the person who made it necessary was only there as an unpleasant but unavoidable element of her narrative. Never have I witnessed a production give in to the villain’s allure with less of a production under their control.
It might be an indication that more of these documentaries should be produced by women, or it might just be a sign that Borgman should produce more of them.What could have been done with all the lives, happiness, and energy stolen by these men who believe they have the right to take whatever they want, use it, and destroy? Is a question that the genre collectively, if unintentionally, asks with Girl in the Picture. What might we all accomplish if we were to live outside of their shadows in a world without them? How do we get there, too?