New York murder suspect arrested before allegedly attempting to kill Tinder date

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, July 28, 2018
Queens murder suspect arrested before allegedly attempting to kill Tinder date
NJ Burkett has the latest on the murder of a nurse in Queens.

NEW YORK -- The man accused of killing a Queens nurse was arrested before he allegedly attempted to murder another victim, officials said, and detectives are investigating the suspect's claims that he was involved in seven other murders.

Danuel Drayton, 27, of New Haven, Connecticut, was arrested in North Hollywood, California, in connection to the murder of 29-year-old Samantha Stewart, of Jamaica, Queens.

Police arrived at the scene while Drayton was allegedly raping another woman in her own home. Drayton is also charged with attempting to kill her.

The body of Stewart, who was a registered nurse at North Shore University Hospital, was found inside her home on July 17. Police said Stewart suffered trauma to her neck and head and believe she was strangled.

Drayton was also wanted for an unrelated rape case in Park Slope Brooklyn that occurred several weeks earlier. Officials said both investigations led to Drayton's arrest.

Stewart and Drayton met on Tinder, and investigators said he allegedly used several dating websites to find his victims.

Police said Drayton claimed to be involved in as many as seven other murders -- three in New York City -- but there is no evidence that corroborates this.

For example, he claims he strangled a man in the Bronx, but officials said there is no evidence of that. However, detectives are checking for a similar case across the border in Westchester County.

The NYPD launched a large-scale investigation into Drayton, which includes a deep dive into information from his encounters on Tinder.

Drayton was also arrested for attacking his ex-girlfriend in Inwood Park in Nassau County on June 16. He was charged with criminal trespass and strangulation. The judge allowed him to remain free over the objections of prosecutors.

"Mr. Drayton did not have a prior criminal record and had not been indicted," a spokesperson for the judge said. "It would have been impossible for the judge at that time to foresee the allegations that are presently unfolding."

Drayton faces charges of attempted murder, rape, penetration with a foreign object and false imprisonment. He is expected to be extradited from Los Angeles to New York to answer the city's murder charge.

Bail was set at $1.25 million in California.

Police are urging any of Drayton's victims to come forward.

For more stories, photos, and video on crimes in the Bay Area and around the country, visit this page.