For three weeks, no updates were received by the family of a woman from Indiana who mysteriously disappeared in California.
The 20-year-old Lateche Norris came to California to spend time with her boyfriend and visit beaches in San Diego. Her mother received a call from her, using a stranger’s phone, shortly after their arrival in San Diego.
In her conversation with her mother, Cheryl Walker, Norris said she and her boyfriend were in conflict the night before. It was her last call to her mother, and she also did not explain why she cannot access her own phone.
Last Nov. 10, Walker notified the San Diego Police Department. The authorities opened a missing person case but did not classify Norris as “at-risk,” which was disapproved by the missing woman’s family and friends.
“My daughter is just as important as Gabby Petito,” Walker’s post on Facebook read. “As if what happened to that sweet girl wasn’t heartbreaking enough.”
Walker did her own search for Norris, attacking missing person posters everywhere within the beach towns of California like Santa Cruz.
Over the summer, Norris and her boyfriend Joseph “Joey” Smith, who are both tattoo artists wannabe, lived together in Santa Cruz.
The missing woman’s family tried to reach out to Smith but to no avail.
“He made a lot of promises to her, and how he’s nowhere to be found,” A Voice For The Voiceless founder Whitney Sich said.
Norris’ social media accounts have also been inactive since Nov. 5.
“All of this is uncharacteristic. If Lateche ever says ‘I’m going to call you back, she calls back. It’s been three weeks now,” Sich said in her interview with KRON4 on Sunday. “There are no signs of life of her anywhere.”
Norris’ family are hopeful that she is in a safe place and will eventually be found, but the hopes are fading as the time passes.
“She has no resources. No money,” Sich said.
Norris ended her last phone call with Walker to call Smith, as what Walker said.
“You call me back! I love you,” was the mother’s last line to Norris, to which she responded: “I will Momma, I promise, I love you more.”
Walker slammed the San Diego Police Department for their negligence on the case.
“(SDPD) chose to ignore the red flags and try to push a narrative that ‘we see this all the time,’” she accused.