BY Jack Davis, The Western JournalMay 30, 2023
4 months ago

Woman and Boyfriend Go Missing in Case with 'Chilling Parallels' to Gabby Petito's Disappearance

A Tennessee family is waiting in fear to hear from a woman who has gone silent while traveling across the country with her boyfriend.

Media outlets have noted that the case has “chilling parallels” to the 2021 case of Gabby Petito, who was found dead in Wyoming after a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who later killed himself after confessing to her murder.

Nikki Alcaraz, also known as Nikki Cunningham, who is 33, has gone silent for three weeks, her sister, Toni Alcaraz, said, according to WKRN-TV.

According to KABC-TV, a woman appearing to match Nikki Alcaraz’s description was seen in a Walmart in Redding, California, on Saturday. The woman was photographed selling her phone.

Josh Alcaraz, her brother, believes she is in danger.

"It's not like her to not reach out to anybody, especially her kids,” he said.


"I immediately tried calling her, and it went straight to voicemail. I sent texts that are still undelivered. She always has her phone, so that's when it was really concerning,” he said.

Family members know that Nikki Alcaraz and her boyfriend, Steven Tyler Stratton, were heading for California in a black Jeep and that things went sour in Torrance County, New Mexico.

Josh Alcaraz said his sister was beaten by her boyfriend, according to KSAZ-TV.

"He beat her up pretty badly. 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,” he said.

According to WKRN, a Torrance County Sheriff’s Office report from May 4 said Stratton claimed he was also struck and bled from his nose and mouth from the blow. No charges were filed.

At that point, Nikki Alcaraz was dropped off in Moriarty, New Mexico, where she called her sister.

“She was crying and upset. Her eye was already turning black, and you could tell she was beat up pretty bad,” Toni Alcaraz said, adding that she wished arrests had been made.

“I just feel like maybe the right steps weren’t necessarily taken,” she said.

A family friend drove to New Mexico, but Nikki Alcaraz refused a ride to California, her sister said.

“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,” she said, adding that she had not been seen for certain since May 6.

Two days later, a text came. Then nothing.

“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,” Toni Alcaraz said.

Cheatham County District Attorney General Ray Crouch said his office is seeking Stratton on an unrelated arrest warrant for a probation violation connected to a theft charge.

According to KABC, a license plate reader picked up Alcaraz's Jeep around Flagstaff, Arizona in early May.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jack Davis, The Western Journal



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