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Layja left his home in Mexico and arrived in Mesa, Arizona to visit his mother's home on April 21, 1994. He was in the United States on a medical visa so he could get medical testing done. The day after he arrived at his mother's, he told her he was going for a walk. He was not familiar with the neighborhood. When he did not return, his mother reported him missing at 7:40 p.m.
At 3:00 a.m. on April 23, Layja knocked on a stranger's door in Gilbert, Arizona. He was dehydrated and confused at the time. The person called the police, who took him to Maricopa County Hospital for treatment. They didn't realize Layja was listed as a missing person in Mesa. Layja told the staff at the hospital that he lived in Sonora, Mexico. A social worker bought him a Greyhound bus ticket and dropped him off at the station. The bus driver stated Layja got out at Nogales, Arizona. He has never been heard from again.
Layja's mother is now deceased. His disappearance remains unsolved.