Mother of Missing Lateche Norris Says Daughter 'Just as Important as Gabby Petito'

The mother of a 20-year-old Indiana woman who has been missing three weeks said that her daughter "is just important as Gabby Petito."

Lateche Norris was last seen on Thursday, November 4 at a 7/11 store located on Park Boulevard in San Diego, California. She had traveled from Indiana to California to be with her boyfriend, Joseph "Joey" Smith, 25, her family said.

Shortly after arriving in San Diego, on November 5, Norris called her mother in distress from a stranger's phone. She told her mother, Cheryl Walker, that she has a heated row with her boyfriend the previous evening. Norris didn't say why she didn't have access to her phone but said she would call her mother back. She didn't, her family said.

Walker reported her daughter missing to San Diego Police Department on November 10.

"My daughter is just as important as Gabby Petito," Walker wrote on Facebook. "As if what happened to that sweet girl wasn't heartbreaking enough."

Petito was found dead on September 19 at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming after last being seen in August. Her fiancé Brian Laundrie, who was the sole person of interest in connection with her murder, was found dead on October 19 in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park near his parents' home in Florida following a month-long search by law enforcement. He had died after shooting himself in the head.

Police said they did not consider Norris to be "at-risk" but her family and friends strongly disagree, FOX 8 reported. Her boyfriend has been uncontactable since Norris was declared missing.

Norris has brown eyes, dark brown or black hair, is 5'8″ tall, and weighs 160 pounds, according to a statement from East County Emergency updates on Sunday. She was last seen wearing black leggings, a black sweatshirt, and black with white tennis shoes.

Norris lived with Smith in Santa Cruz over the summer, FOX8 reported. They are both aspiring tattoo artists.

Smith is described by police as 5 foot 10, weighing 185 lbs, with dark brown/black hair and blue eyes.

San Diego Police Department asks any members of the public who have seen Norris or have any information regarding her whereabouts or disappearance, to contact them on +1 (619) 531-2446 and reference case #21-501043.

Norris' family and friends said they have tried to contact Smith, but their calls and messages were not answered, FOX 8 reported.

Newsweek has contacted San Diego Police for comment.

Lateche Norris Facebook
Photos of missing woman Lateche Norris, 20, from Facebook. Her mother said that her daughter “is just important as Gabby Petito.” Facebook