There’s a new true crime documentary that’s as ominous as it sounds – here’s everything you need to know about Girl In The Picture.
One of the standout documentaries of recent years is Abducted In Plain Sight, a 2017 film that garnered massive attention, not least because of its truly confusing subject matter. It explored the case of 12-year-old Jan Broberg, who was kidnapped by a trusted neighbour and close friend of the family’s, Robert Berchtold. The story is already sinister and disgusting but it notches up tenfold once we learn that Berchtold abducted Jan not once, but twice.
At the time of its release on Netflix, viewers were quick to express their dismay over the subject matter and the involvement of Jan’s parents. Whatever your thoughts around the case, there’s no denying that the documentary secured its place in the canon of addictive true crime content.
Well now, the same director of that film, Skye Borgman, is lending her talents to a new Netflix docufilm.
Girl In The Picture explores an equally jaw-dropping true crime story that spans 30 years. The premise sounds relatively simple but from the looks of the new trailer, this case is anything but.
The documentary centres on a woman who goes by the name of Sharon Marshall and aims to find out who she really was, and why her real identity was unknown to everyone – including herself.
It’s based on the international bestseller A Beautiful Child and its follow-up book Finding Sharon, which were written by award-winning investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck. The synopsis for A Beautiful Child reads: “Sharon Marshall was a brilliant and beautiful student whose future was filled with promise – until her murderous, fugitive father drew her into a lifetime of deception that became one of the most baffling cases in the annals of American true crime.
“A student at Forest Park High School near Atlanta, Georgia, popular blonde-haired Sharon Marshall was at the top of her class. Serving as a Lt. Colonel in the Reserve Officers Training Corps, she earned a full scholarship to Georgia Tech University to study aerospace engineering. She was the ultimate girl next door, sweet, generous and well-adjusted. But Sharon had disturbing secrets so shocking and unique, they took more than a decade to unravel.
“This is the horrifying true story of a mysterious young woman caught in the violent web of the murderous fugitive she called her father—and a heartrending testament to the profound courage and perseverance of one woman trapped in the grip of extreme evil.”
The books brought the case of Sharon and her father to light and now, with the help of this new Netflix documentary, more people will know the tale of fake identities, kidnap and murder.
In the trailer, we see old images of Sharon and her father Franklin Floyd but they hold a sinister secret. As Birkbeck himself states: “The only person that knew her real identity was her father.”
Floyd was a fugitive for almost two decades and was “an expert in concealing his identity”, according to the trailer. Sharon’s dreams of going to college to be an aerospace engineer were halted by Floyd’s insistence that she could not go due to an unexpected pregnancy. Instead, “he took her around strip clubs to make a living for him”, one investigator reveals.
“This is more than just a crime story – who is this girl?”
If you google Floyd’s name, you’ll quickly discover that Floyd was hiding Sharon’s own identity from herself because he was harbouring a deadly secret. Sometimes even the best horror films don’t elicit as many chills down our spines as a true crime case – and this is definitely one of them.
Girl In The Picture will be available to stream on Netflix on 6 July.