Nikki Alcaraz, a mother from Tennessee, was reported m!ssing after being seen on bodycam footage pleading with New Mexico police to arrest her boyfriend. Ms. Alcaraz, 33, vanished on a trip with her boyfriend, Tyler Stratton, from Nashville to Orange County, California.
On Tuesday, thanks to a tip from a concerned citizen, the pair was found unharmed near the city of Eureka in northern California. A truck driver had reported seeing Mr. Stratton beat his girlfriend on May 4 in Torrance County, New Mexico, and that prompted police to pull them over.
The Torrance County Sheriff’s Office revealed bodycam footage to The Independent, showing an injured Ms. Alcaraz telling deputies that she and her boyfriend had been drinking shots of Fireball whiskey before getting into a fight in her black Jeep Wrangler.
“He laid his hands on me and I want him in jail for it,” she can be heard saying. The truck driver who called the cops says he witnessed Mr. Stratton “slap her and punch her in the face” as she lay on the ground.
An incident report given by the sheriff’s office to The Independent included a recording of Ms. Alcaraz’s screams to 911 dispatchers. Later, Mr. Stratton is seen talking to police while his arms are zip tied behind his back and he is bleeding from the nose and mouth.
Mr. Stratton claims that his girlfriend had attacked him while he was driving and that he had done nothing to provoke her. He stated, “I’m not trying to blame anything on her… but she ended up having too much to drink,” adding that he had been “begging her to stop” beating him.
“I’ve never seen Nikki like this before.” The duo showed signs of intoxication, the report said. After warning Mr. Stratton not to contact Ms. Alcaraz for 24 hours or else he would be arrested, the police released the couple.
On May 9th, Ms. Alcaraz’s relatives reported her m!ssing after they had been unable to get in touch with her. Similarities to the Gabby Petito case helped propel the case to national prominence. Following complaints of a domestic violence in 2021 in Moab, Utah, police stopped Petito and her partner Brian Laundrie.
Despite Laundrie’s claims that he, too, had been struck, the police in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park decided not to bring charges against him for the murder of a 22-year-old YouTube personality. On Tuesday, after a nationwide search, the pair was found in Eureka, California.
Mr. Stratton was taken in on a theft warrant for something completely different. Ms. Alcaraz’s friend Amanda Sanders told NewsNation on Tuesday that the couple’s arrest by Torrance County deputies would have prevented the missing person scenario.
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“I just felt more angry wondering why they weren’t at least arrested for public intoxication or something,” Ms Sanders said. Ms. Alcaraz and Mr. Stratton left their Tennessee home earlier this month to visit family in Orange County, California.
Ms. Alcaraz was last seen on May 6th, which is when officials and her family began putting out pleas for information regarding her whereabouts. Photos of Ms. Alcaraz, taken by authorities after the alleged assault, show her with a black eye, cuts on her face, and extensive bruising on her arms.
“He beat her up pretty badly,” Josh Alcaraz, her brother, according to Fox5. Two days after being escorted to a Super 8 in Moriarty, New Mexico, Ms. Alcaraz vanished. On Tuesday, Josh Alcaraz told NewsNation the family was relieved she had been found safe.
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