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TN woman on road trip goes missing after left with black eye from boyfriend

Nikki Alcaraz found: Missing Tennessee woman located with boyfriend Steven Tyler Stratton
Nikki Alcaraz found: Missing Tennessee woman located with boyfriend Steven Tyler Stratton in California.
Nikki Alcaraz Tennessee woman missing. Boyfriend, Tyler Stratton wanted.
Nikki Alcaraz missing: Tennessee woman disappears during road trip with boyfriend, Tyler Stratton, who is now wanted.

Nikki Alcaraz Tennessee woman goes missing during road trip with boyfriend, Tyler Stratton following altercation between couple which left girlfriend with bruising along body and face. 

Where is she? Is she still alive? A Tennessee woman has gone missing after going on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend several weeks ago after released images showed her suffering physical abuse at the hands of the man, including visceral bruising along her body and face. The boyfriend who has seemingly disappeared is now wanted. 

Nikki Alcaraz, 33, who is also known as Nikki Cunningham, a mother of two, set off from Nashville with her boyfriend Steven Tyler Stratton and their dog in her Jeep, in early May to visit family in Orange County, California, her sister Toni Alcaraz told KNRN-TV.

Nikki last communicated with Toni over text on May 8, telling her she was in Arizona and planned to complete the trip. The missing woman’s two young children did not join the road trip.

The boyfriend who had outstanding warrant was not arrested

‘Then I didn’t hear anything else after that Monday morning,’ Toni told KNRN-TV. ‘I talk to her almost every day, so I am scared something happened to them.’

The couple had a run-in with police on May 4 in Torrance County, New Mexico.

A witness saw Stratton punch Alcaraz in the face, a Torrance County Sheriff’s Office police report stated. 

But Stratton, who had blood coming from his mouth and nose, told officers he had been attacked by her, the report stated.

Neither wanted to press charges and authorities said they were each given rides to different places, according to the report.

Stratton had a warrant out for his arrest for allegedly violating his probation in connection with an unrelated theft charge at the time, but was not arrested. 

Alcaraz then called her sister, ‘crying and upset,’ Toni told KNRN-TV.

Nikki Alcaraz Tennessee woman missing. Boyfriend, Tyler Stratton wanted.
Pictured, Nikki Alcaraz missing Tennessee woman who also goes by the name of Nikki Cunningham.

Missing woman insisted on driving off to find boyfriend

‘Her eye was already turning black and you could tell she was beat up pretty bad,’ Toni told the station of the phone call the two shared after the incident.

A family friend drove to New Mexico to bring Alcaraz to California and stayed in a hotel together but, ‘That morning when they were supposed to leave, she told him that she had to go back and find Tyler because she had a bad feeling, and so he left without her,’ her sister said.

Nikki was reportedly last seen at around 7:00 a.m. on May 6 at a Super 8 motel in Moriarty, New Mexico, a town about 40 miles east of Albuquerque.

The sisters communicated by text two days later, which is when Alcaraz, said she was in Arizona and intended to complete the trip. At the time, Alcaraz texted her sister saying she was dropping her boyfriend off at a homeless shelter.

Disappearance eerily similar to Brian Laundrie Gabby Petito road trip case

Alcaraz and Stratton’s phones have been turned off, leaving Toni to fear the worst for her sister.

‘I am scared something happened to them, whether they got in another fight or if they crashed her Jeep somewhere,’ she told KNRN-TV.

The couple’s mid-trip run-in with law enforcement, eerily resembles the case of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old travel blogger who went missing in August 2021 while on a cross-country trek with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23.

Petitio and Laundrie were also stopped by police after a domestic incident in Utah, where cops concluded the pair had attacked each other and let them go without charges.

Two months later, Petito’s strangled body was found at a Wyoming campground.

Laundrie had driven to his parent’s Florida home as public scrutiny mounted. He eventually committed suicide amid a manhunt.

Petitio’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab Police Department, claiming cops should have detained Laundrie and not let the couple go on their way.

Nikki Alcaraz Tennessee woman missing. Boyfriend, Tyler Stratton wanted.
Nikki Alcaraz Tennessee woman missing. Boyfriend, Tyler Stratton wanted. Pictured the Jeep the couple set out in during cross country road trip.

‘We are kind of lost,’

Toni Alcaraz said she is ‘praying’ that her sister is alive and well.

‘I don’t think she is dead out there somewhere, but it’s all a possibility at this point, and I am really scared of that, but I’m praying that’s not the case,’ she told KNRN-TV.

‘We are kind of lost,’ said Nikki’s brother, Josh Alcaraz told FOX10. ‘We don’t know what to do.’

‘He beat her up pretty badly,’ Josh recalled of the boyfriend who is now wanted. ‘A truck driver had to pull him off of her, call the police, the police picked him up, took him a couple exits down and dropped him off. She was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, and a broken hand or wrist.’

Josh says he’s scared the vehicle Nikki was in could have driven off the road, or broken down in the desert.

‘We would like everybody to keep their eyes open, and if you see the Jeep, if you see him, if you see her, call somebody. Call the police,’ said Josh.

According to family, there is a history of physical violence between Alcaraz and her boyfriend.

A missing persons report was filed in New Mexico where Nikki Alcaraz was last seen, according to KNRN-TV.

Her 2013 Jeep Wrangler with Tennessee license plate number BGL3539, a ‘Mama Tried’ sticker and camo seats was last picked up by a license plate reader near Flagstaff, AZ on May 9, the report said.

Alcaraz is 5-foot, 6-inches tall and heavily tattooed with brown eyes and dark colored hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call Moriarty, NM police at 505-832-6060 or 505-834-2705.