Tennessee woman found safe after New Mexico sighting

[anvplayer video=”5179313″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The nationwide search for a couple who seemed to fall off the map after being stopped here in New Mexico has been found in northern California.

Nikki Alcaraz and her boyfriend, Tyler Stratton, told Torrance County Deputies they were driving out to California to start over. But that was at the beginning of May and the Alcaraz’s family says they haven’t heard from her since.

On Tuesday, multiple police departments in northern California and Oregon report Alcaraz has been found safe.

Plus, a post from a friend is making its rounds on Facebook. A person who says she is a close friend with Alcaraz posted a screenshot of a FaceTime call she says was taken earlier Tuesday showing Nikki smiling – with the caption “OK she’s alive y’all.”

The Torrance County Sheriff’s Office released body camera footage Tuesday showing the couple bruised and bloody after deputies responded to a domestic abuse call.

A trucker driving by on I-40 saw the Jeep pulled over and Alcaraz getting punched. So he called 911 saying:

“I just seen this girl get hit by a f***ing dude. I pulled over and went to her, and she told me to call the cops.” 

When Torrance County deputies arrived on scene the Stratton was cuffed and placed in the back of a squad car. Stratton told officers he was hit first. 

“She wanted to pull over, and she just kept hitting me and I told her to please stop, and she just kept hitting me and I have blood on my shirt from it,” Stratton said. 

But as more deputies arrived on scene it was clear Alcaraz had more injuries than Stratton. 

“She had injuries to her arm from being held down—she has injuries to her chest injuries to her shoulders she got injured on her face looks like they beat the crap out of each other,” said one deputy.

As they try to figure out what led to the fight, both admitted to drinking a lot but neither of them claimed to be the one who was driving

“Neither one wanted to press charges, neither one would admit to driving, and even if they did, we didn’t see it. We can’t arrest on it anyway, so the deputy decided the best thing to do was to separate them for the evening,” Torrance County Sheriff David Frazee said.

Alcaraz was dropped off at a motel in Moriarty and Stratton was brought to one in Edgewood and their Jeep was towed.

KOB 4 asked the sheriff if he felt his deputy made the right call that day.

“Personally, if it were me I would have made an arrest but on the other hand making an arrest might not have made a difference because the same outcome they would have been released the next day or maybe even that night I don’t know,” Sheriff Frazee said.

Sheriff Frazee says their office didn’t hear anything from the couple the next day after they picked up the jeep. 

Sheriff Frazee says his deputies followed the department’s Standard Operating Procedure for this situation. But after this case got national attention, he is considering changing the SOP, so arrests are mandatory if there is evidence of physical abuse, regardless if no one wants to press charges. 

if you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, you can contact the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic violence, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)-799-7233. They are available 24/7 and operators speak multiple languages, including both English and Spanish.