‘I Am Really Scared’: Missing Tennessee Woman Invokes Memories Of Gabby Petito

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UPDATE: The Redding Police Department announced May 31 that Nikki Alcaraz was contacted by the Eureka Police Department and found to be safe May 30. Alcaraz is no longer considered a missing person, the Moriarty Police Department confirmed to Redding law enforcement.

Authorities are seeking a Tennessee woman whose disappearance during a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend is invoking memories of Gabby Petito.

Nikki Alcaraz set off on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Tyler Stratton, to visit family in California, WKRN reported Sunday. During their trip, Alcarz and Stratton allegedly got into an altercation resulting in a run-in with law enforcement officials in Torrance County, New Mexico on May 4.

A witness allegedly saw Stratton punch Alcaraz in the face, though Stratton claimed he had also been hit and had blood coming from his mouth and nose, the outlet reported, citing a report from the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office. Neither Stratton nor Alcaraz wished to press charges, prompting law enforcement to provide rides to the couple, according to the outlet. Alcaraz was reportedly dropped off in Moriarty.

“She was crying and upset. Her eye was already turning black and you could tell she was beat up pretty bad,” Alcaraz’s sister Toni told the outlet, reportedly recalling a subsequent video phone call.

Shortly after the alleged fight, a family friend drove to New Mexico with the intention of taking Alcaraz to California by himself, according to WKRN.

“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 told the outlet. Two days later on May 8, Toni reportedly received a text from her sister announcing her arrival in Arizona and her intention to finish the trip to California with her boyfriend.

“Then I didn’t hear anything else after that Monday morning,” Toni continued. She said her sister’s phone appears to be out of service.

Alcaraz’s reported disappearance has invoked memories of the Gabby Petito case, in which the young vlogger set off on a cross-country trek with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, only to disappear without a trace for more than a month. As investigations over her disappearance commenced, reports surfaced that a violent altercation between the couple had resulted in an ordered separation by Moab police in Utah. Approximately a month after her disappearance, Petito was found strangled to death in Grand Teton National Forest.

“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 told WKRN. (RELATED: New video Footage Shows Gabby Petito With Brian Laundrie Just Before She Was Murdered)

Cheatham County District Attorney General Ray Crouch has been working with law enforcement officials in New Mexico and Arizona in an effort to track down the couple, WKRN reported. Over Memorial Day weekend, Alcaraz was potentially spotted at a Walmart in Redding, California, selling her phone at an ecoATM, according to a separate article from the outlet. Crouch provided a photo to WKRN and law enforcement officials are still seeking the public’s help in locating Alcaraz.

This story has been updated to include the latest reported information on Nikki Alcaraz.