Lateche Norris

Lateche Norris was last seen with her boyfriend on Nov. 4 in downtown San Diego, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

ANDERSON — San Diego’s police department considers an Anderson woman missing for three weeks to be at risk.

Lateche Serenity Norris, 20, was last heard from by her mother on Nov. 5 when she called from an unknown phone asking for the phone number of her boyfriend, Joseph Smith.

Norris was last seen with her boyfriend on Nov. 4 in downtown San Diego, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

“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,” San Diego police spokesman Lt. Adam Sharki said in a news release. “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.”

Norris’ mother reported her daughter missing Nov. 9, according to Sharki.

The case is drawing national media attention and was the focus of a Dateline NBC story on Nov. 23.

Both Smith and Norris were charged with domestic battery in Anderson in September with the case filed in Anderson City Court.

Her mother, Cheryl Walker, wrote on Facebook that Norris called her the morning of Nov. 5 from a stranger’s phone.

Walker wrote that Norris and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Smith, had been fighting for days, and when Norris called her mother she asked for the number that Smith had called Walker from the previous night.

“I let her go so she could call him and I (said) ‘You call me back! I love you!” Walker posted on Facebook. “The last words my daughter said were ‘I will Momma, I promise I love you more.’”

Walker told Dateline NBC that Norris met Smith while learning to become a tattoo artist, and the couple moved to Santa Cruz in the summer. Norris returned home to Anderson some time before agreeing to meet Smith just after Halloween in San Diego, where he had relocated.

The San Diego newspaper reported that in the summer of 2021 Norris and her boyfriend lived in an apartment complex near Santa Cruz.

Smith 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 San Diego Union Tribune reported, describing a volatile relationship with frequent arguing and fighting inside the apartment.

Norris and Smith returned to Anderson in September with Smith returning to California in October to check into a drug treatment center.

Norris flew to California on Nov. 1 and posted on Facebook that she broke her cell phone.

San Diego police asked anyone with information about the whereabouts of Norris or Smith to call the missing persons unit at (619) 531-2277 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.