Tyler Stratton and Nikki Alcaraz are a Tennessee couple who disappeared on May 8, 2023, while on a road trip across the country to California.
The Redding, California, police department says they have been found in Eureka, and Alcaraz is no longer missing. They had visited a Walmart in Redding, according to police.
A missing poster says that Nikki Cunningham Alcaraz was last seen on May 6, 2023, in Moriarty, New Mexico, with Tyler Stratton. “She was last seen in a black jeep Wrangler with TN plates and a ‘mama tired’ bumper sticker,” the poster says. “Due to history of domestic assault, we believe she is in danger. She may be located in NM, AZ or CA.” People with information are asked to contact the Moriarty Police Department at 505-832-6060.
According to ABC7, Stratton is also missing.
Some are comparing the case to that of Gabby Petito, 22, whose body was found in a Wyoming National Park after she went missing while on a trip across the country with her fiance, Brian Laundrie, who later died in a Florida preserve.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nikki Alcaraz & Tyler Stratton Were Traveling to Orange County, California, With a Dog, Reports Say
Alcaraz’s family told KFOR-TV that Alcaraz “disappeared while traveling across the country with her boyfriend, who is currently wanted on an unrelated arrest warrant.”
Nikki Alcaraz’s sister, Toni Alcaraz, told the television station that she last spoke with her sister three weeks before, adding that Alcaraz and Stratton, her boyfriend, left in a black Jeep with a dog to travel across the country to Orange County, California, to visit family.
“I talk to her almost every day, so I am scared something happened to them,” Toni Alcaraz told KFOR-TV. “It’s a trip she’s done hundreds of times. Our uncle is still in Southern California, and she goes to see him often.”
2. Tyler Stratton & Nikki Alcaraz Were Involved in a Domestic Violence Incident in New Mexico, Reports Say
A report from the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico on May 4 indicates the couple was involved in a domestic incident.
The May 4, 2023, incident report from Torrance County lists the case as “battery against HHM” and “DUI alcohol.”
Stratton’s name is given in the report as Steven T. Stratton.
According to the report, while on patrol, units were dispatched for a welfare check on the Interstate. A dispatcher heard a female on the line screaming and then wouldn’t answer.
Dispatch received a call from a truck driver who was passing the mile marker and “noticed a possible domestic between male and female,” the report says.
Upon arrival, the jeep was parked in a small rest area. A man, Stratton, was sitting on the ground. Another male and female were standing just west of the jeep. The male said that he had called in, the report says.
The witness, who was not Stratton, told police he was driving when he noticed the female sitting on the ground with the male over her and he punched her in the face, the report says.
Stratton was taken into custody. He had blood coming from his mouth and nose area, according to the report.
Alcaraz said that they had dropped off a friend in Amarillo, Texas, and then picked up a bottle of Fire Ball that they both started to drink. She said she was not driving when “Thomas” started hitting her for no reason. When they got to the rest area, she jumped out of the vehicle and he caught her. She said she wanted to press charged and had red marks on her face and fingerprint marks on both arms. She also had a bruise on her chest and back, the report says. It’s not clear why she used the name Thomas.
Stratton told police they were traveling to California and both had been drinking beer and Fireball and Alcaraz was driving, the report says. He said she hit him in the mouth for no reason and then continued to hit him, it says.
He said he did not want her to go to jail, the report says.
Stratton was advised to go to the hospital because he was having high blood pressure. Deputies spoke with both subjects again and neither would admit to driving the vehicle and both were intoxicated, the report says. They said they did not want to assist with any charges being filed and both were given a ride from the scene, Alcaraz to Moriarty, New Mexico, and Stratton to Edgewood, New Mexico, the report says.
The driver’s seat was pushed back to indicate a taller person was driving and there was blood spatter on the passenger side door which would have come from Stratton, the report says. There was blood on the running board, it says.
It was determined that both parties were mutual combatants while traveling down the interstate, the report says. The bruise on Ms. Alcaraz’s arms came from Mr. Stratton holding her down to avoid being hit,” it says.
The next day, a towing company official told police that Alcaraz and a different male showed up to pick up the Jeep, it adds.
Toni Alcaraz told the television station that Nikki was “dropped off in Moriarty” and then called her.
“She was crying and upset. Her eye was already turning black and you could tell she was beat up pretty bad,” Toni told the television station; she told KFOR that a family friend went to New Mexico to get Alcaraz but Alcaraz decided to find Stratton on May 6. On May 8, Nikki texted Toni from Arizona and said she was completing the trip to California, but then she disappeared, KFOR reported.
On May 19, 2023, a woman named Amanda Sanders posted on Facebook, “Nikki’s plate was caught on a plate reader in Flagstaff, Arizona on the 8th. It has not been picked up on a reader since then. Potential sighting on Willow Creek Rd in Prescott AZ on 5-9.”
She shared photos showing a woman with a black eye.
This is similar to the Petito and Laundrie case because that couple also was stopped by police for a domestic incident in Utah, according to The New York Post.
ABC 7 reported that “a license plate reader picked up Alcaraz’s Jeep near Flagstaff, Arizona earlier this month, but police said her phone appears to be out of service.”
3. Nikki Alcaraz & Tyler Stratton Did Not Post About Each Other in Their Public Facebook Posts
On Facebook, Alcaraz goes by the name Nikki Cunningham. Her page says she “studied at Nashville State,” “went to Cheatham County School District,” lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is from Whittier, California.
In 2019, she married Evan Cunningham, according to a Facebook post.
Stratton’s Facebook page says he “studied at Nashville State Community College Foundation,” and “went to Cheatham Co Central.” He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and was from Ashland City, Tennessee. He listed himself as single.
His cover photos is a graphic listing “hobo symbols.” There isn’t much else visible on his page except for a couple photos.
4. A Friend of Nikki Alcaraz Wrote, ‘I Need You to Be OK Nikki!’
Nikki Chance Jordan wrote on Facebook, “I need you to be ok Nikki! Your family, and most importantly, your babies need you! We love you and won’t stop searching until you are found. Everyone…ANYONE…please let us know if you know anything about her whereabouts.”
She added: “You can remain anonymous if needed. ANY INFORMATION is greatly appreciated, no matter how small or large. Please PM me or notify the authorities as they are now involved in this missing persons case. Finally…PLEASE PRAY! PLEASE SHARE! Help us bring Nikki home!”
5. Tyler Stratton Is Wanted on an Arrest Warrant on a Tennessee Theft Charge
According to ABC 7, Stratton “has an unrelated arrest warrant out of Tennessee, tied to a theft charge.”
Daily Beast reported that Alcaraz is 33 years old and is a mother of two.