By SHELIA BYRD – JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Those who know Latasha Norman describe her as a serious, smart student who was seen around Jackson State University with pad and pencil, covering stories for the campus newspaper. They say it’s out of her character to disappear without a word to her family and friends. She was last seen at the end of an afternoon class Nov. 13.
Campus and city police have fielded dozens of calls, to no avail. The FBI is now part of the investigation, bringing useful resources, especially if the search goes beyond Mississippi’s borders, Special Agent Jason Pack said Wednesday. “We’re looking at the circumstances of the case, putting a fresh set of eyes on it and trying to come up with some leads so we all can bring her home safely,” Pack said. In recent weeks, Norman had been the target of attacks. Someone slashed her car tires and removed the vehicle’s license plate. Her father instructed her to file reports with the campus police, and she did.
Last week, an ex-boyfriend of Norman’s was charged with hitting her last month. He has withdrawn as a student from Jackson State, university officials said Wednesday. Police say they have no suspects. Among those they have questioned are her current boyfriend and the ex-boyfriend. Norman’s father, Danny Bolden, is clinging to the hope that she will brought home safely. Bolden, a supervisor at a wastewater treatment facility, traveled from Greenville to Jackson as soon as he heard his daughter was missing.
Norman was 2 when her mother married Bolden, who said he’s the only father she’s ever known. Asked to describe Norman, he used the words “Christian,” “humble,” and “high morals.” The 20-year-old who grew up in the heart of the impoverished Mississippi Delta is working her way through school and has a job at a Jackson craft shop. Bolden said she didn’t receive a scholarship to college, but has a 3.5 grade point average at Jackson State.
Norman, a junior majoring in accounting, was assigned to the campus newspaper, The Blue and White Flash, as part of her work study, said Glenda Glover, dean of JSU’s College of Business. “Each time I saw her, she always had a stack of books,” Glover said. “She’s quiet. She didn’t hang out.” Bolden said that during high school, Norman was involved in activities like band and the church choir. But he added, “She really was a private type person, and she didn’t associate with too many people. She wasn’t like most young ladies that had a bunch of friend girls.”
Andrell Harris, Jackson State’s student body president, said he and Norman had been friends for about two years. “We saw her on the yard a lot because (as a reporter) she was always in the public eye,” Harris said. She said people could make Norman laugh “if you had a personality.” “I just hate for her family to go through a holiday season without her being there,” she said.