Echoes of Gabby Petito case in the disappearance of Tennessee’s Nikki Alcaraz on route to Southern California

The mystery surrounding Alcaraz's vanishing, a chilling echo of the infamous Petito case. Your help could make a difference.

Family members of Nikki Alcaraz, who went missing earlier this month while on a road trip to Southern California, fear the Hispanic woman is in danger. Alcaraz, 33, left Tennessee with her boyfriend, Stephen Tyler Stratton in a black Jeep Wrangler earlier this month.

She was supposed to arrive at her uncle’s home in Orange County on May 12. Two weeks after that date, authorities continue to search for the couple.

The family’s fears were heightened after reports surfaced that the couple had a violent altercation in the middle of the crossing.

The woman’s cousin, Lonnie Alcaraz, revealed that the couple had a physical altercation in New Mexico on May 4.

A police report includes a photo of Alcaraz with a black eye and bruises on his arm. A witness testified that Stratton punched him in the face. The official report notes that Stratton also claimed he had been beaten.

There was a truck driver who saw her on the side of the road as she was being beaten by who we later learned was her boyfriend,” the relative indicated to NBC.

“They took her to the hospital, and a family friend they know came from Orange County to help her,” he added.

Both declined to press charges and left the station separately.

After the incident, a family friend offered to drive Alcaraz to California, but the woman insisted she needed to meet her boyfriend. The meeting reportedly took place on May 6.

That same day, a license plate reader recognized the Jeep near Flagstaff, Arizona. Police do not have the woman’s phone records, as the cell phone is not working.

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Call for help

The sheriff of Cheatham County, outside Nashville, Tennessee, asked for the public’s help locating the woman.

The 2013 Jeep Wrangler has Tennessee license plate TN U7272G and a bumper sticker that read “Mama Tired.”

The Hispanic woman has two children who were not traveling with her at the time of the incident.

If you have information to help shed light on this case, please call 505-832-6060.

The national attention this case receives is close to that of Gabby Petito because of the similarities.

Two years ago, Petito, 22, was found dead after disappearing on a road trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.

As part of the reports, it also transpired that the two had an argument in which Petito was beaten.

Laundrie, who was on the run, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, an autopsy confirmed in January last year.