Woman faces charges, including kidnapping

Woman faces charges, including kidnapping


Robert Stevens

Managing editor



MANTI—A Mt. Pleasant woman is facing charges—including child kidnapping, lewdness with a child and contributing to delinquency of a minor—for allegedly keeping two boys, one 12 years old, at her home overnight, and on another occasion, permitting a juvenile to take a photo of her breasts in a Manti City Park restroom.

However, the woman’s attorney is seeking a neuropsychiatric competency evaluation on grounds the woman has Huntington’s Disease, a neurological disorder that can affect memory and thinking.

According to a 6th District Court probable cause (PC) statement, Sanpete County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Adams responded to a call on June 11 about a woman allowing unlicensed juveniles to drive her vehicle near Manti City Park.

Adams arrived at the park, where he spoke with a juvenile boy and his mother. The boy’s mother told Adams that Jessica Lee Layton, 28, had been allowing her son and other underage drivers to drive her vehicle.

When Adams questioned the boy, the PC statement says the boy told the deputy that Layton had taken him into the park restroom, where she had allowed him to take a photo of her naked breasts to send to a friend of hers on the social media platform Snapchat.

According to the PC statement, Adams observed the partially nude picture on a tablet belonging to the boy. The image was later confirmed to be Layton.

A search warrant was executed at Layton’s residence. While being questioned, Layton admitted to the sheriff’s deputy that she had let two juveniles drive her vehicle at the park and had let one of them take a photo of her naked breasts with her cell phone. But she claimed the juvenile had run off with her phone and later had sent the photo to himself.

Layton was booked into the Sanpete County Jail on June 13 on charges of dealing in materials harmful to minors, a third-degree felony; lewdness involving a child, a Class A misdemeanor; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class B misdemeanor. Her bail was initially set at $7,930.

The kidnapping charges stem from an earlier, June 9 incident in which Sanpete County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Jensen responded a call from some parents in Manti who said their 12-year-old boy was missing.

The parents told Jensen they had been given information that led them to believe their son, and his juvenile friend, were in Spring City on a ATV. Jensen and the boy’s father agreed to meet in Spring City to look for the boys.

A little later, however, the father let the deputy know that the boys had been found, and the mother of one of them was bringing them home.

The deputy talked further with the parents who reported their son missing. The parents said their son had been gone overnight without permission.

The deputy then talked with the boys. They told the deputy they had left the Manti City Park with Layton about 11 p.m., traveled to her house in Mt. Pleasant and watched movies most of the night.

One of the boys told Jensen that he and his friend had taken a four-wheeler from Main Street in Mt. Pleasant and driven it to Spring City.

Deputy Jensen later observed an interview at the Children’s Justice Center with one of the boys. During the interview, the PC statement says, the boy told interviewers that Layton had also taken them to a place called “Devil’s Rib,” east of Manti, and then to Yearns Reservoir.

Later, the boy’s mother told interviewers her son had told her Layton had also taken the boys to a “party” before going to Mt. Pleasant.

On June 20, Layton was charged with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

The motion for the neuropsychiatric evaluation was accompanied by a letter from Dr. Meghan Zorn, a University of Utah physician, stating that Layton’s condition “includes abnormal involuntary movements, difficulty with gait and balance, as well as memory and thinking issues.”