SAN DIEGO — A young woman from Indiana who went missing earlier this month in San Diego is now being called "at risk" by the San Diego Police Department.
News 8 spoke to friends and family of the missing woman, Lateche Norris, 20, to develop a timeline of her disappearance.
Over the summer of 2021, Norris and her boyfriend Joseph “Joey” Smith lived in an apartment complex on Riviera Street in Los Gatos, California near Santa Cruz.
Smith, 25, was working construction for a nearby contractor, who was paying the couple's apartment rent and providing them a work truck. Norris would assist Smith on his construction jobs.
Soon after they moved into the apartment on July 30, neighbors started complaining: The couple was in a volatile relationship, arguing and fighting inside the apartment.
The disturbances eventually led to Norris and Smith leaving the apartment.
September 1: The couple got into a fight at a Safeway grocery store on North Santa Cruz Ave. in Los Gatos. Police arrested Norris – not her boyfriend – on domestic violence charges.
September 7: Norris and Smith moved out of the apartment and flew back to Norris’ hometown of Anderson, Indiana, where they stayed with friends for a few weeks.
September 27: The couple got into a fight in Anderson, Indiana. Police were dispatched at 11:32 p.m. on Sept. 27, according to the incident report. Officers arrested both Norris and Smith on charges of misdemeanor domestic battery at 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 28.
(Update: The incident dates have been corrected in this article).
Friends told News 8 Norris would sometimes become combative when she discovered Smith had been using drugs. Norris did not use drugs, according to friends and family.
Mid-October: Smith flew from Indiana to San Diego, reportedly to enroll in an unidentified drug rehab facility, but he soon left.
October 31 / November 1: Norris flew to San Diego -- with a very long layover in Las Vegas -- to meet up again with her boyfriend.
November 2: Norris Facebook messaged a friend, saying "I don't have my cell phone anymore. I broke it..."
November 4: More arguing between the couple in San Diego, according to Norris’s mother, Cheryl Walker, who said she received several calls from Smith. He claimed the couple had argued and he had lost track of Norris on the San Diego Trolley. At 11:25 p.m. on Nov. 4, a friend reported seeing the couple at a 7-Eleven store next door to the downtown San Diego Library. On Dec. 2, SDPD released surveillance video of the couple inside the store:
November 5: Walker said she received a frantic call from her daughter at 4:49 a.m. San Diego time. Norris was using a stranger's cell phone and she was trying to reach her boyfriend, Walker said. Norris asked her mother for the phone number Smith had used to call Walker the day before. She promised to call her mother back soon.
That was the final phone call from Norris and Walker has not heard from her daughter since. There have been no updates on the 20-year-old’s social media pages.
November 13: Joey Smith – or someone using Smith's account – posted on his Facebook story a photo of a black, VW bug in Chula Vista, according to Walker.
Other than that post, there have been no new posts to his social media accounts.
November 30: SDPD released the following statement to News 8 and other news outlets:
Missing Woman Lateche Norris Declared “At-Risk,” Investigators Call on Public for Help San Diego -- San Diego Police Department investigators are now calling 20-year-old Lateche Norris an at-risk missing person after three weeks of extensive investigative work in trying to find her. The change in status to at-risk was 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. Norris last had confirmed contact with her mother on November 5th and she was reported missing to SDPD on November 9th. While there is no evidence to suggest she is the victim of a crime at this time, the Missing Persons Unit has followed up on every available tip and lead to date. Police continue to use all resources at their disposal to find Ms. Norris. We need anyone with information, sightings, tips, or leads to come forward. Tips can be called into the Missing Persons Unit at (619) 531-2277. You can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
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