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'Just As Important As Gabby Petito': Mother Searches For 20-Year-Old Daughter Who Disappeared After Fight With Boyfriend

Gabby Petito Lateche Norris Missing Daughter Boyfriend Domestic Violence

A distraught Indiana mother is frantically searching for her 20-year-old daughter, who has gone missing in the San Diego, California area — roughly three weeks after a quarrel with her boyfriend.

Cheryl Walker has launched a social media hunt for her daughter, Lateche Norris, after the girl vanished following an alleged incident with her boyfriend, Joseph “Joey” Smith. And now, the case is drawing comparisons to Gabby Petito‘s disappearance — and why it isn’t being covered with the same fervor.

Related: Gabby Petito’s Family Reveals How They Plan To Get Justice For Her Death

The scary situation began back on November 5, when Lateche left home to meet up with Joey (pictured together, above). The 25-year-old BF had allegedly recently left a rehab facility and was supposedly living on the streets in San Diego, according to The Sun.

Days later, Lateche last called her mom using a stranger’s phone, saying she’d had a quarrel with her boyfriend and needed his phone number to call him. She didn’t tell her mom why she didn’t use her phone or what had caused the fight, but she vowed to call back later in the day.

She never did.

When the 20-year-old hadn’t called by the next day, Cheryl filed a missing person complaint with the San Diego Police Department. To the scared mother, Lateche’s disappearance is particularly notable because the girl rarely goes more than a couple days without speaking to her mom.

Both of the young people were aspiring tattoo artists. Lateche moved from Indiana to Santa Cruz, California to be with Smith earlier in 2021, but had since moved back home. She had flown back out to see Joey again just days before she allegedly disappeared.

Cheryl told local San Diego media outlets:

“She definitely would have called me back. If her phone was dead, she would’ve found a way to charge it. Or call me from someone’s phone like that day. Something is wrong. Now the days are just flying by with no word from her. And we’re terrified.”

It doesn’t appear as though Norris has been active on social media since November 5, either.

Terrifyingly, though, the day before her apparent disappearance, Lateche did publish a mysterious post on her Facebook account that read:

“It’s okay to still cry over things u thought you moved past.”

According to Cheryl, the young couple had some bad fights well before Norris vanished.

The frantic mother told CBS 8 San Diego:

“There’s been a few incidences of domestic violence between the two. It’s very concerning to me now because there’s a lot of red flags that were popping up that we maybe should have paid a little bit more attention to before.”

Per that same outlet, booking photos and police affidavits from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department in Madison County, Indiana indicated that the couple was jointly arrested back on September 28 on misdemeanor charges of simple domestic battery.

Lateche Norris and Joey Smith mugshots from the Madison County Sheriff
Lateche Norris and Joey Smith. / (c) Madison County Sheriff

The family has attempted to contact each of them since the final November 5 phone call, with messages to both thus far going unanswered.

Related: Missing Princess Charlene Is In A Treatment Facility, Prince Albert Reveals In Statement

According to the New York Post, San Diego cops did not publicly confirm or deny whether they are actively investigating her disappearance. Still, Cheryl is adamant that her daughter be accounted for ASAP. In a Facebook post of her own earlier this month, the worried mother wrote:

“My daughter is just as important as Gabby Petito. As if what happened to that sweet girl wasn’t heartbreaking enough.”

No kidding.

Gabby’s father agrees. Joseph Petito, who has become a staunch advocate for missing persons and domestic violence victims, has lent his own support to the search, tweeting Norris’ key information on Monday:

Other important notes: Norris is 5’8″ and weighs around 160 pounds with dark brown hair and dark eyes. She has an arrow tattoo on her left forearm, a seven-inch blade tattoo on her right calf, and unknown words tattooed on her knuckles, according to The Sun.

Hopefully this young woman can be found safe and sound.

Sending our thoughts to her mom during this difficult, uncertain time…

[Image via Lateche Norris/Facebook/Gabby Petito/Instagram.]

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Nov 30, 2021 11:55am PDT