Cheatham Co. family searching for answers after woman was missing for weeks

Authorities said Nikki Alcaraz, who had been last seen in early May, was contacted by police and found to be safe on Tuesday.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 6:59 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Cheatham County woman who has been missing since early May is safe, the Redding Police Department said Tuesday.

Police said Nikki Alcaraz, 33, was contacted by the Eureka Police Department and found to be safe. The Redding Police Department has been in contact with the Moriarty, New Mexico, Police Department and confirmed Alcaraz was no longer a missing person.

New video was released of Alcaraz, who was believed to have been in danger.

Alcaraz was spotted over the weekend for the first time in more than three weeks as a nationwide search is on to find her.

Nikki and her boyfriend, Tyler Stratton, disappeared in early May while traveling from Middle Tennessee to visit her family in southern California. Since then, her family and friends like Patsy Smiley have been searching nonstop.

Stratton was arrested shortly after police found them as well. He had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Tennessee with full extradition. He was wanted for failure to appear on a theft-related offense.

“It just breaks our heart,” family friend Patsy Smiley said. “We want to know that she is safe. That is our main thing. Are you safe? And we haven’t heard anything since the eighth.”

On May 4, they were in Torrance County, New Mexico, where a truck driver saw Tyler beating Nikki and called 911.

PHOTOS: Missing Cheatham County woman spotted in California

Body camera video shows bruises all over Nikki’s body and Tyler had a bloody nose from the fight.

Neither Nikki nor Tyler wanted to press charges, according to a police report, so deputies released them at separate gas stations about 10 miles apart.

She reached out to family members for help, but decided she wanted to go back to Tyler. Nikki’s car was last spotted by license plate readers on May 8 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“This is not the first time this has happened,” Smiley said. “Any time you are with a physically abusive person, they’re going to do it again. It’s not a one-time deal.”

Police in the northern California town of Redding saw Nikki and Tyler on security video from Saturday selling her phone.

California police searching for missing Cheatham Co. woman

Nikki’s older brother, Josh Alcaraz, said they do not have any family in that area, but are relieved to see she is still alive.

“Just because we knew she was alive as of Saturday doesn’t mean she is safe by any means,” Josh said. “She is having a difficult time. She looks scared. She looks stressed.”

He has been trying to comfort their parents and work to follow up on any leads that come in about her location.

They understand that she is an adult, and can make her own decisions about what she does, but they at least want to hear from Nikki to make sure she is safe.

Police said Stratton has warrants out for his arrest on unrelated charges. Police in Redding are using license plate readers and other tools to help search for the couple.

This video below was reported before Nikki was found and Tyler was arrested.

WSMV4's Brendan Tierney reports.