Update, May 31, 2023: Nikki Alcaraz has been found safe in northern California, authorities say.
Authorities are searching for a mother of two who has not been seen since being involved in an alleged domestic dispute while traveling from Tennessee to California with her longtime boyfriend.
Nikki Alcaraz, 33, was last seen in Moriarty, New Mexico on May 6, according to a flier posted by the Cheatham County Sheriff's Office. At the time of her disappearance, she and her boyfriend, Tyler Stratton, as well as their dog, were driving from their home in Tennessee to Orange County to visit her family.
"Due to a history of domestic assault we believe she is in danger. She may be located in NM, AZ or CA," the flier reads.
During a stop in New Mexico, the couple was allegedly involved in a physical altercation on May 4, according to a Torrance County Sheriff's Department report cited by KABC. The report included testimony from a witness who claimed to have seen Stratton hit Alcaraz. Stratton told officers he was also hit and had blood coming from his mouth and nose.
The couple declined to press charges and left the station separately, according to KABC.
Photo: Cheatham County Sheriff's Office/Facebook
Following the altercation, Alcaraz, who also goes by Nikki Cunningham, contacted her sister Toni Alcaraz. "Her eye was already turning black and you could tell she was beat up pretty bad," her sister told the outlet.
Her brother, Josh Alcaraz, added in a separate interview with Fox 10 that the mother of two sustained a traumatic brain injury and a broken hand or wrist.
"He beat her up pretty badly," Josh alleged, according to Fox 10. "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."
Alcaraz then met up with a family friend who was going to drive with her to California, but instead of leaving with them, she reportedly said that she had to find her boyfriend Stratton, who is also missing.
She later texted her sister on May 8 to say that she was in Arizona and would be driving to California from there, though no one has spoken to or seen her since. A license plate reader later flagged Alcaraz's black Jeep near Flagstaff around that time, Toni Alcaraz said.
"I immediately tried calling her and it went straight to voicemail," Josh Alcaraz told KABC. "I sent texts that are still undelivered. She always has her phone so that's when it was really concerning."
He added, "It's not like her to not reach out to anybody, especially her kids."
"I am scared something happened to them, whether they got in another fight or if they crashed her Jeep somewhere," Toni Alcaraz added to KABC.
Over the weekend, there was a possible sighting of Alcaraz at a Walmart in Redding, California, which is a 10-hour drive north of Orange County. An EcoATM reportedly took a photo of the 33-year-old when she sold her phone at the kiosk, according to KABC.
Alcaraz's family insists that this behavior isn't characteristic of the 33-year-old, who had reportedly driven to Orange County multiple times before. Her brother told Fox 10, "She can do it in two days with her eyes closed, you know, so it's really, really concerning that it's been so long."
Though Alcaraz's road trip with her boyfriend is reminiscent of Gabby Petito's ill-fated cross country jaunt with boyfriend Brian Laundrie, Alcaraz's family remains hopeful that they will be reunited with her.
"All the stories like that that seem to happen and seem to happen more often make it more terrifying,” Toni told WKRN, adding, "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."
The Cheatham County Sheriff's Office describes Alcaraz as being 5-feet, 6-inches tall and weighing 160 pounds. She is believed to be driving a black 2013 Jeep Wrangler with a bumper sticker that reads "Mama Tired."
According to KABC, there's a warrant out for Stratton's arrest in connection to a theft charge in Tennessee.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Moriarty Police Department at (505) 832-6060.