Family of Missing Woman Posts Flyers in Ocean Beach

by on December 2, 2021 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Unconfirmed sightings of missing woman Lateche Norris in the Ocean Beach area led family members there Wednesday to post flyers and hunt for tips.

Norris, who is from Indiana, was last seen in San Diego Nov. 4, is considered at-risk by San Diego Police Department investigators as of Nov. 30.

“I’m hoping there’s, I don’t know, some scenario that I haven’t fathomed, and she’s safe and we’ll keep going until we find her,” Norris’ mother Cheryl Walker said.

Walker said it’s been bittersweet having the support from people across the country, even from Gabby Petito’s family, who Walker said have reached out to offer support.

SDPD said Tuesday that Norris was being considered at risk “based on the totality of the circumstances, including the length of time Norris has been missing and the absence of anyone reporting verifiable contact with her.”

SDPD is asking for the public’s help finding Norris. They said her boyfriend, Joseph Smith, is not considered a suspect.

“Nobody’s considered a suspect because right now, there’s no evidence to indicate that there’s criminal activity,” Lt. Adam Sharki said. “Now, that may change, if the evidence or statements or information leads in that direction.”

Walker traveled to San Diego along with Norris’ father and step-father over the Thanksgiving holiday to look for Norris. She told NBC 7 Norris seemed frantic last time they spoke and said she feared her daughter is “in over her head.”

“She’s a good human,” Walker said describing Norris. The mother and daughter last spoke over the phone Nov. 5. “She’s not afraid of hardly anything, which is scary for us at times like these. She’ll be the one to track the bullies down. She’s not worried.”

Norris came to San Diego to help Smith after he left a rehab facility and was forced into living on the street, according to Walker. The couple had a disagreement before Walker’s last conversation with her daughter, and Walker says there have been domestic violence incidents in the past.

Norris was last seen at a 7-Eleven store at 222 Park Blvd. on Nov. 4, and last spoke to her mother on the phone the following day.

“She definitely would have called me back,” Walker said. Norris had to abruptly end their last conversation but told Walker she’d call again.

Walker said she filed a missing person report with SDPD Nov. 9. For three weeks, SDPD investigators didn’t consider Norris At-risk, though her mother and others involved in the search for Norris disagreed.

Walker said she got a ransom demand phone call that she later realized was fake. She was unhappy with SDPD’s response when she brought it to their attention.

She said she wasn’t able to reach the Missing Persons Unit to tell investigators about the call, so she contacted dispatchers. Walker said dispatchers told her they couldn’t help, and that she would have to leave a voicemail with the MPU.

“That sent me through the roof. I said, ‘For a ransom demand for my missing daughter, you want me to leave a voicemail?’ I had left five voicemails. It had been four or five days before I heard from anyone,” Walker said. So, she called the FBI.

“I couldn’t even process the logic there,” she said.

Walker worries history could repeat itself.

“How many times do we have to see a young girl go missing after fighting with her husband or boyfriend or significant other, and how often does it have to end in nothing positive, before we start taking this a little more serious?” Walker said.

She said she doesn’t want to unfairly implicate Smith, who she said has a criminal record that includes arson and vandalism, but said he’s not answering calls or messages despite being active on social media. NBC 7 also reached out to Norris’ boyfriend and hasn’t heard back.

In an interview with NBC’s NBC’s “Dateline”, Walker said she was afraid she’d never see her daughter again.

From 7SanDiego


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie December 3, 2021 at 9:32 am

New surveillance video released Thursday shows Indiana woman Lateche Norris and her boyfriend at a downtown San Diego 7-Eleven in her last visible movements before vanishing last month.


Frank Gormlie December 4, 2021 at 11:34 am

Good news: Lateche Norris and Joey Smith have been located and are SAFE. Cheryl, Lateche’s mom has made physical contact with the two of them here in California. Thank you for everyone’s concern and assistance in finding Teche. We have notified Sgt. Tien with SDPD. We thank each and everyone of you for your support and hard work. Because of you, a mother has been reunited with her mini-me. Teche’s family is respectfully asking for privacy at this time as they catch their breath. #ItTakesAVillage


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