REDDING, Calif. (WKRN) – Police in Redding, California say they have found a Tennessee woman reported missing while she was on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend.
According to the Redding Police Department, police in Eureka, California contacted Nikki Alcaraz and confirmed she was safe.
Alcaraz was reportedly spotted in Eureka on Monday, nearly a month after she departed for a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Tyler Stratton, and a dog to visit family in Orange County, California.
Early Tuesday morning, police responded to the area and determined Alcaraz and Stratton were “together and had been at the location.” Later in the day, someone reported seeing the vehicle Alcaraz and Stratton were believed to be traveling in. Officers found the vehicle and found both inside.
Alcaraz reportedly told Eureka Police she did not need any assistance, according to a release from the department. Stratton was taken into custody for his outstanding warrant from Tennessee for failure to appear on a theft-related offense.
“Alcaraz was provided information on local resources and released from the scene,” Eureka Police noted. Additional details weren’t available Tuesday night.
Alcaraz’s family had been desperately trying to find her after they say she disappeared during the trip with Stratton. Toni Alcaraz told Nexstar’s WKRN that she last spoke with her 33-year-old sister three weeks ago.
During their cross-country trip, the couple reportedly had a run-in with law enforcement in Torrance County, New Mexico. According to a May 4 sheriff’s report filed in Torrance County, New Mexico, a witness saw Stratton punch Nikki in the face. The report went on to say that Stratton claimed he was also hit, with blood coming from his mouth and nose.
Since neither one wanted to press charges, authorities said Stratton and Nikki were given rides. After Nikki was dropped off in Moriarty, New Mexico, Toni said Nikki called her.
“She was crying and upset. Her eye was already turning black and you could tell she was beat up pretty bad,” Toni recalled. Shortly after the fight, Toni said a family friend drove to New Mexico, where he met up with Nikki in hopes of bringing her to California.
“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,” Toni explained.
Nikki did communicate with Toni via text two days later, on May 8, saying she was in Arizona with plans to complete the trip to California. Toni didn’t hear from her again after that.
According to Toni, a license plate reader picked up Nikki’s Jeep near Flagstaff, Arizona, on May 9. Toni filed a missing persons report in New Mexico since that’s where Nikki was last seen.
A Cheatham County deputy told WKRN that Nikki had been spotted at a Redding, California Walmart on Saturday, May 27. She was reportedly selling her phone at an ecoATM.
The fear over Nikki’s disappearance was heightened by some eerie similarities to the high-profile Gabby Petito case. The 22-year-old Florida woman set off on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, in July 2021. More than two months later, Petito’s body was found in a Wyoming national park.
Laundrie was found dead in a Florida preserve in October 2021, near a notebook where he confessed to killing Petito.