VERNON, TX (KFDX/KJTL) — A second defendant in the kidnapping of a Vernon College student from a Walmart parking lot in Vernon last year has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison for her role in the crime.

29-year- old Mistie Nicole Bowen, of Mississippi, was sentenced to 8 years prison in 46th District Court in Wilbarger County.

The co-defendant, 31- year-old Joshua Southard of Mississippi, was sentenced last August to 30 years in prison for aggravated robbery and 10 years for making a weapon while in jail. He made his plea as the jury was waiting in the hall to begin hearing testimony.

On February 19, 2022, authorities said Southard asked a man in the Vernon Walmart parking lot for a ride to a nearby store. When they arrived at the store, the victim said Southard pulled a handgun and forced him to drive to a nearby RV park, where he met up with Bowen.

The victim was blindfolded, and Bowen followed them in another car to Wichita Falls. On the way, Southard forced the victim to withdraw cash from an ATM. In Wichita Falls, they checked into a hotel using the victim’s credit card.

The victim escaped when he said Southard left him in his pickup while he went in to request a refund from the hotel. The suspects were arrested in New Boston, Texas a few days later, and officers say they found the victim’s social security card in Southard’s wallet.

District Attorney Staley Heatly said Southard’s crime spree was fueled by his need for meth.