Cold case solved: Man confesses to killing missing Oklahoma boy more than 20 years ago

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CHOCTAW, Okla. - The FBI believes they now have answers in a case that is more than two decades old.

Investigators said 6-year-old Michael Hughes was kidnapped in 1994.

The child was never seen again.

The man last seen with him, Franklin Floyd, now sits on death row in Florida after being convicted of a murder there.

For years, Floyd refused to tell authorities what happened to Michael, but now FBI officials said he has broken that silence.

Michael and his principal were kidnapped from Indian Meridian Elementary School in Choctaw on September 12, 1994.

“I can remember that day as plain as today,” said John Whetsel, the former Choctaw police chief and current Oklahoma County sheriff.

Whetsel said it’s a day he will never forget.

Hours later, the elementary school principal was found handcuffed to a tree about a mile and half east of the school.

“Franklin Floyd and Michael left, never to be seen again for a long time,” Whetsel said.

Floyd was later arrested but would never say what happened to Michael.

In a NewsChannel 4 interview from 1995, Whetsel said Floyd was the key to finding Michael.

“Until Floyd opens his mouth and lets us know where Michael's at, it's going to be almost impossible to locate him," Whetsel said.

For years, it has been a mystery investigators couldn't solve.

Last summer, an FBI agent went to interview Floyd and asked about Michael.

According to the FBI, it was during that interview Floyd confessed.

He told the agent he shot Michael twice in the back of the head.

He then told the agent he buried the boy near the last exit leaving Oklahoma and heading into Texas.

A search was done of the area, but no evidence was ever found.

“When Michael took his last breath here on Earth, he took the very next breath in Jesus' arms," said Merle Bean, Michael's foster-mother.

At the time of his abduction, Michael was in state custody.

He was living with Merle and Ernest Bean.

The couple was unable to meet us for an interview but spoke to us by phone.

They said they are grateful for the prayers of so many Oklahomans.

“I feel like there is closure, and this is just where I want it to end,” Merle said.

The sheriff agrees, even though he wishes Michael could have been found alive.

“It's not easy to accept, but at least it's nice to know what happened,” Whetsel said.

The FBI investigator who has worked this case said he hopes to interview Floyd again soon.

That agent said he thinks Floyd may have answers which could help solve other cases, including what really happened to Michael's mother.

The boy’s mother died in 1990, and investigators believe Floyd may have details about what really happened to her.