On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Taney County Associate Circuit Court Judge Eric Eighmy sentenced Robert J. Hyslop, of Branson, to twenty years in prison for one count of sexual abuse in the first degree and two counts of kidnapping in the first degree.
Hyslop pleaded guilty to kidnapping two college students from a Hollister parking lot in the early morning hours of Oct. 29 in 2018. The victims were sleeping in their car at approximately 5 a.m. when they were awakened by Hyslop breaking the passenger side window with a hammer.
According to original reports the male and female students were sleeping in a car in a commuter lot along Gage Drive because they returned to College of the Ozarks’ campus at approximately 1:10 a.m. after the gates had been closed at 1 a.m.
On Nov. 9, Valorie Coleman, public relations director for CofO, stated that students can call security to be let in when locked out of campus after hours.
After Hyslop broke the car window, he proceeded to enter the vehicle and forced the victims to drive to an overlook on Missouri 165, where he forced them to undress and perform sex acts for him at gunpoint. Hyslop admitted to a detective that around 6 a.m. he made the couple drive him back to Hollister and drop him off at his vehicle.
According to an initial report, when Hyslop was interviewed by the detective he admitted that he had been high on methamphetamine for three days.
Taney County Sheriff’s Department investigated the offense and recovered physical evidence along with a surveillance recording of Hyslop near the scene of the kidnapping. Hyslop was apprehended in Taney County during a traffic stop almost two weeks later, when a deputy recognized him from the description provided by the victims.
According to the press release, kidnapping in the first degree and sexual abuse in the first degree are class B felonies. Normally the range of punishment for a class B felony is five to fifteen years in prison but, because Hyslop had previously been found guilty of two or more other felonies, the range of punishment for his offenses was ten to thirty years or life in prison.