A woman missing from Indiana, who vanished after taking a cross-country trip to see her boyfriend — was just found alive and well in San Diego, CA after Gabby Petito’s family jumped in to help on the search.
According to reports, Lateche Norris was found in California and her mother is on her way to the area to be reunited with the missing woman. The story sparked a national outcry considering it mimicked that of Gabby Petito’s tragic story and death following her cross-country trip with Brian Laundrie. Lateche allegedly took a trip from Indiana back in November to visit her boyfriend — Joseph Smith — who lived in California.
After arriving in Calfornia, Lateche was reported missing by her family after they lost contact with her. Similar to Petito, Norris called her mother on November 5, and said she had been fighting with her boyfriend for “hours” the night before, and promised to call her back the next day. “I will Momma, I promise, I love you more,” is the last thing Norris said to her mother, on a November 27th Facebook post.
Lateche Norris Found Alive & Well After Getting Help From Gabby Petito’s Family
San Diego Police Department issued a statement, along with publicizing a surveillance video from a local 7-11 to try and get the public to help in the search from Norris. “On November 9, 2021, Lateche Norris’ family reported her as a missing person. Norris was last seen at the 7-11 at 222 Park Blvd in downtown San Diego on November 4, 2021, at about 11:25 p.m. with her boyfriend, Joseph Smith,” the cops tweeted.
Twitter, please help find #LatecheNorris she was last seen on 11/5 using a strangers phone at 222 Park Blvd in San Diego. Please remember her face and his and share. Please we need your help to bring her home safely. #FINDLATECHE #MissingPerson #TogetherWeCan #GabbyPetito pic.twitter.com/J1J7s91cr4
— joseph petito (@josephpetito) November 30, 2021
On Monday, Gabby Petito’s father — Joseph Petito — joined in the search by publicizing the case on social media. “Twitter, please help find #LatecheNorris she was last seen on 11/5 using a stranger’s phone at 222 Park Blvd in San Diego. Please remember her face and his and share. Please we need your help to bring her home safely,” he tweeted. The grieving father included hashtags, “#FINDLATECHE #MissingPerson #TogetherWeCan #GabbyPetito.”
Indiana Woman Reported Missing After Cross-Country Trip to See Boyfriend
According to reports, the Petito parents have also been working with Lateche’s family — giving advice on how to deal with the media and cope with the disappearance of their daughter.
At this point, San Diego is listing Norris as an “at-risk missing person” — but don’t know that she is yet the victim of any crime.
Norris Family Recieves Ransom Letter Demanding $7,000 For Lateche’s Return
Norris was wearing a zippered black hooded sweatshirt over a navy t-shirt, khaki pants, black skater-type shoes with white trim, and was carrying a black and white checkered backpack. NORRIS has visible tattoos on the backs of her fingers.
— San Diego Police Department (@SanDiegoPD) December 3, 2021
Officers say it conducted three weeks of “extensive investigative work in trying to find her” and the FBI has also been involved in the case. Norris’ mother claims the family received a ransom letter during the past few weeks, asking for $7,000. “It was like, ‘If you want to see your daughter again, send me $7,000,’ ” her father, Walter Omega Cullum, told the media. The family asked for proof that she was safe and alive, and received no response.
In the end, the couple was located in California and Lateche’s mom has made “physical contact” with them. A Twitter account helping to find the two detailed the situation, saying, “Thank you for everyone’s concern and assistance in finding Teche. We have notified Sgt. Tien with SDPD. We thank each and every one 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 the is time to catch their breath.