NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For the first time, we are seeing body camera footage following a fight between a missing Cheatham County couple. Nikki Alcaraz and Tyler Stratton set out about a month ago for a cross-country road trip, with it taking a turn on May 4 in Torrance County, New Mexico.
A truck driver called 911, saying he saw Nikki get punched in the face, while her boyfriend told a responding deputy that he was also hit. You can see in the video both are bloody and bruised, with Nikki first telling the deputy she wants to press charges.
In the end, the couple was separated and dropped off in separate locations with neither pressing charges.
Nikki’s family wishes more was done.
“I just wish more law enforcement would understand this is a matter of life and death to some people, people get killed in domestic violence,” said Patsy Smiley, a longtime family friend.
According to NewsNation, the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office is looking further into how the response was handled.
“Generally speaking, they should’ve been arrested. That’s my understanding. When I asked the officer about it, he indicated our District Attorney frowned on such arrests,” said Sheriff David Frazee. “That’s something I’ve got to look into, but it will be investigated. If we made a misstep then we will take action to correct it.”
Despite a recent sighting of Nikki, family and friends worry about her safety. The 33-year-old disappeared while on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend. Over Memorial Day weekend, the mother of two was spotted in Redding, California, according to District Attorney General Ray Crouch.
Several images of Nikki were captured Saturday, May 27 at approximately 2:50 p.m. at an EcoATM inside a Walmart in Redding, where paperwork shows Nikki sold her cell phone for $75.
“We are assuming they are out of money and that was a last-ditch effort,” said Smiley.
It’s been more than three weeks since Nikki’s last contact with family members. Her sister, Toni Alcaraz, said they usually speak regularly.
“I hope we can get [in] contact with her. I just want to talk to her myself before I say I’m too relieved,” Toni said.
Smiley added, “As long as she is with a violent, physically violent man there’s concern for her safety.”
The latest images of Nikki are concerning for the family.
“We noticed in the picture he was hovering just right by her side,” Smiley explained, “We feel like she’s being controlled and that’s not uncommon at all, that’s a typical domestic assault situation.”
Adding to their anxiety, Nikki’s disappearance has eerie similarities to the 2021 Gabby Petito case. The 22-year-old woman from Florida was on a cross-country trip with her fiancé when authorities responded to a domestic violence call and neither were arrested. Petito was later strangled to death, and her body was found in a Wyoming National Park.
“It was just almost like the same script it was just a remake but ours so far has turned out better. We just don’t want to make it another one.”
That’s why they aren’t giving up hope to reach Nikki. Although she may not want to come home, they need to hear from her before turning away from their efforts.
“We’ve been advised not to cancel the missing persons’ report. We still feel Nikki is in danger as long as she is out there with Tyler, we feel like she’s in danger,” said Smiley.
Now, Smiley is asking officials in Redding to put out a BOLO for the couple, telling News 2 Nikki has a friend in the Shasta County area.
The Cheatham County District Attorney General’s office has requested nationwide extradition for Stratton, who has an unrelated arrest warrant for failure to appear on a probation violation that stems from a theft charge.