7-Eleven surveillance video offers last glimpse of missing woman

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UPDATE: Officials say Lateche Norris was found safe on Saturday.

SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – New surveillance video released Thursday shows a missing woman and her boyfriend at a 7-Eleven in downtown San Diego, in what is possibly the last time she was seen 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)

Lateche Norris, 20, traveled from Indiana to California to be with boyfriend Joseph “Joey” Smith shortly before her disappearance, 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. She 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 front neckline 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, who has brown hair and hazel eyes, stands at 6 feet tall and weighs about 185 pounds.

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 KSWB 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 her, 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 the costs of searching for Norris.

Norris’ disappearance already has generated national attention. It also caught the eye of Joseph Petito, the father of slain New York native Gabby Petito.

Joseph Petito 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. In an appearance on NewsNation’s “Banfield” on Wednesday, Walker said the family has been receiving ransom calls and texts that she believes to be fake on her personal cell phone.

“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.

KSWB’s Jaime Chambers contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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