NORTH MANKATO —
The family, meanwhile, remembered Layton as a hard-working young man who loved serving his country.
He was born in Panama City, Fla., in 1986. He moved around with his family, spending time in Japan and Alaska before the family settled in North Mankato. Layton attended Mankato West High School but didn’t finish.
After obtaining his GED, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves where he served as a combat medic, assigned to 492nd Engineer Company. He was honorably discharged in March 2012.
His family said he loved being outdoors, camping, hiking, fishing, four wheeling, snowboarding, repairing cars. He was a craftsman, working as a handyman and carpenter.
Hanson said he’s not sure why Layton was found unconscious in the entryway of Hy-Vee. But he cautioned against assuming it was nefarious in nature.
While Layton did have a criminal record, Hanson said his nephew, as far as he knew, was clean recently. And he disagreed strongly with The Free Press’ decision to include pieces of Layton’s criminal past in its initial report.
“I didn’t think that was called for,” Hanson said. “There is a grieving family here, and a fatherless daughter. ... We don’t know the full story.”
He had worked for Hanson’s roofing company, and Hanson says he never had reason to doubt his work ethic or his performance.
“He wasn’t a saint,” Hanson said. “He was a human being like the rest of us.”