Tennessee mom goes missing on road trip with boyfriend, case has eerie similarities to Gabby Petito

A Tennessee mother of two’s reported disappearance after embarking on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend has left family members scared while the story has striking similarities to that of Gabby Petito.

(Video: WKRN)

Nikki Alcaraz, a 33-year-old mother of Cheatham County, Tennessee who also goes by Nikki Cunningham, had reportedly set off to visit her uncle in Orange County, California in her Jeep Wrangler with a dog and her boyfriend Tyler Stratton. Having not heard from her sister since May 8, days after police had reported a physical dispute between the couple, Toni Alcaraz explained to WKRN that she is “scared something happened to them.”

As she told the outlet, Toni and her sister typically speak on a regular basis and the trip is one she has undertaken numerous times. However, an incident in New Mexico on May 4 was akin to the Aug. 12, 2021, domestic violence incident between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie that occurred shortly before that young woman was murdered.

“Her eye was already turning black and you could tell she was beat up pretty bad,” the sister explained to WKRN of a call she received from Nikki. The Torrance County Sheriff’s Office had filed a report about a domestic abuse incident between Alcaraz and Stratton wherein a witness said they saw him punch her in the face.

According to the May 4 report, a bloodied Stratton indicated that he had been attacked by her.

Following the incident, the couple went separate ways and on May 6 a family friend was supposed to accompany Nikki the remainder of the way to California, but “she told him that she had to go back and find Tyler because she had a bad feeling, and so he left without her.”

May 8 was the last communication Toni received from Nikki and she told WKRN, “Then I didn’t hear anything else after that Monday morning.”

“I talk to her almost every day, so I am scared something happened to them,” she indicated and added, “whether they got in another fight or if they crashed her Jeep somewhere.”

“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 concerned sister explained.

Prior to Memorial Day weekend, the last known location of Alcaraz was believed to be in Flagstaff, Arizona on May 9 when her Jeep was picked up by a license plate reader.

However, WKRN had since reported that the young woman was believed to have been caught on camera alongside a man believed to be Stratton at a Redding, California Walmart, far to the north of her expected destination in southern California. It was believed that she had sold her cell phone for spending money. Stratton reportedly had a warrant out for his arrest after an alleged probation violation regarding an unrelated theft charge.

Those with information regarding Alcaraz were asked to contact law enforcement in Moriarty, New Mexico.


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Kevin Haggerty


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