Store’s surveillance video offers last glimpse of missing woman

Local

SAN DIEGO – 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.

Lateche Norris, left, and boyfriend Joseph Smith, right. Norris has not been seen since Nov. 4, 2021, at a downtown San Diego 7-Eleven and has been labeled by San Diego police as an at-risk missing person. (San Diego Police Department photos)

Norris, who is 20, traveled from Indiana to California to be with boyfriend Joseph “Joey” Smith, according to family. She has not been heard from since Nov. 5 when she reportedly called her mother from a stranger’s phone after a heated argument with Smith. She’s not been seen or heard from since and calls to Smith have not been returned, Norris’ mother Cheryl Walker said.

The two videos released by San Diego police show Norris and Smith walking into the store at 222 Park Blvd. near Petco Park about 11:25 p.m. Nov. 4. She was reported missing by her mother to SDPD on Nov. 9.

In the videos, Norris is seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt over a navy T-shirt, khaki pants, black skater shoes with white trim and carrying a black and white checkered backpack. She is 5-foot-8 and weighs 160 pounds with dark hair and brown eyes and goes by the name “Tesha,” police said.

Smith, 25, also appears in the videos wearing a long-sleeve Nike T-shirt with the sleeves rolled up that has the swoosh logo by the neckline in the front and an unidentified logo beneath it, police say. He was wearing dark-colored jeans, the same skater-type shoes as Norris and also carried a backpack.

Smith stands at 6-feet tall and weighs about 185 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

San Diego police this week labeled Norris an at-risk missing person based on the length of time she’s been missing and the lack of anyone reporting having contact with her. Despite the lack of clues on her whereabouts, Walker told FOX 5 that she will do whatever it takes to find her daughter, the youngest of three children in the family.

“I feel like if I’m not here and I’m not that beacon for here and I’m not willing to more than anyone else then I don’t feel I have the right to ask anything of anyone else,” Walker said.

The family recently established a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for costs of searching for Norris.

Norris’s disappearance already has generated national attention with coverage of the case appearing in People, The Daily Beast and The Independent, among other outlets. It also caught the eye of Joseph Petito, the father of slain New York native Gabby Petito.

He tweeted about Norris Monday, saying, “Please remember her face and his and share.”

“Please we need your help to bring her home safely,” Petito said.

But not all the attention has been positive, Walker told NewsNation’s “Banfield” Wednesday. She said the family has been receiving ransom calls and texts that she believes to be fake on her personal cellphone.

“They’ll demand $7,000, $10,000 $2,000 … different amounts,” Walker was quoted as saying. “You can kind of tell the way it’s worded that it’s not legitimate.”

Anyone with information on Norris’ whereabouts is encouraged to contact San Diego police at 619-531-2000 and reference Case No. 21-501043.

FOX 5’s Jaime Chambers contributed to this report.

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