LOS ANGELES -- A family is searching for answers after they say their loved one disappeared during a cross-country trip to Southern California with her boyfriend, who is also missing.
Nikki Alcaraz left her home in Tennessee for a road trip in her black Jeep with her boyfriend Tyler Stratton and a dog. They planned to travel to Orange County to visit her family, but three weeks ago, the 33-year-old mother disappeared in Moriarty, New Mexico.
"There's a lot of possibilities that I'm scared of after not hearing from her for three weeks now," said Toni Alcaraz, Nikki's sister.
There were signs of trouble when the couple reached New Mexico.
On May 4, a Torrance County Sheriff's Department report showed Alcaraz with a black eye. A witness said Stratton punched her in the face. The report says Stratton claimed he was also hit.
Neither one chose to press charges. They left the police station separately.
Alcaraz was dropped off by police in Moriarty where she called her sister.
"Her eye was already turning black and you could tell she was beat up pretty bad," Toni Alcaraz said.
A family friend drove to New Mexico and met up with Alcaraz, hoping to bring her to California. But on the day they were supposed to leave she told him she had to go back and find her boyfriend.
On May 9, Toni Alcaraz received a text from her sister saying she was in Arizona and planned to continue driving to California.
"I am scared something happened to them, whether they got in another fight or if they crashed her Jeep somewhere," Toni Alcaraz said.
A license plate reader picked up Alcaraz's Jeep near Flagstaff, Arizona earlier this month, but police said her phone appears to be out of service.
Stratton has an unrelated arrest warrant out of Tennessee, tied to a theft charge.