A man arrested in a wave of bi-coastal crimes involving murder, rape and the detention of a woman in captivity has used dating sites to connect with some of his alleged victims, police say.
Danueal Drayton of New Haven, Connecticut, was wanted for the murder of a woman in Queens, New York, according to New York Police Department Detective Chief Dermot Shea. and was ultimately linked to a rape that took place several weeks earlier in Brooklyn.
He was arrested this week in California, where authorities charge him with sexually assaulting and attempting to kill another woman he allegedly detained against his will after their date, according to the Los County District Attorney’s Office. Angeles.
“The common denominator” in the New York murder and rape cases “are dating sites,” Shea said at a press conference this week.
“This individual is known to us and we believe this individual is using dating sites to meet women and then victimize those women,” he added.
It was not immediately clear which dating sites or apps Drayton used in his series of alleged crimes, or if he used one to meet his alleged victim in California. Shea said the suspect used “multiple websites”.
New York investigators have asked any other potential victims to come forward and share information.
Drayton came to the attention of the NYPD as they investigated the murder of Samantha Stewart, 29, in Queens after her body was discovered by her brother on July 17, Shea said Thursday.
“As this investigation progressed, it was accompanied by a separate, uninvolved and unrelated investigation from Brooklyn’s 78th Borough several weeks earlier involving a rape case,” Shea said.
In both cases, investigators were taken to Drayton, he said, which was “followed across the country”.
Authorities say when they located Drayton they discovered another alleged victim – a 28-year-old woman – being held captive.
According to a statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney, Drayton allegedly strangled and assaulted the woman on July 22 and 23 after refusing to let her leave his apartment after a date.
“Right after he committed a horrific murder here and destroyed my family, he went to California and did almost the same,” Samantha Stewart’s father Kenneth said. CNN affiliate WCBS.
“Thank goodness they caught him before he could destroy another family.”
“My brother and I were at the house when the detectives stopped to brief us,” Stewart’s aunt Ruby Dixon told CNN. “My family and I just want to congratulate the detectives, the NYPD police, for their tireless work and their efforts to capture this maniac, get him off the streets.”
Dixon said Stewart worked as a registered nurse on Long Island before her death.
“She was the most beautiful person you could know: loving, caring, everything, so sweet, so peaceful,” she said. “Friends, she has friends, but she didn’t really go to parties and stuff. She was going to church and would study.
Drayton was also arrested in June for allegedly suffocating his ex-girlfriend in Nassau County, WCBS reported.
Online court records show Drayton was released without bail on July 5 in a case in Nassau County, New York, where he was charged with aggravated harassment and second degree strangulation.
In a statement, the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, which represented Drayton in the case, expressed condolences to Stewart’s family, but declined to comment on the latest developments.
“However, I cannot stress enough that the lawyers who handled Mr Drayton’s case did so in a proper and extremely competent manner, as they are required to do,” the chief prosecutor said. N. Scott Banks.
“Likewise, the court certainly acted appropriately and within the law in rendering its bail decision, having considered all the information that was available at the time.”
Drayton also has a record of previous arrests in Connecticut. Between 2011 and February 2018, he was arrested and found guilty of several different charges, according to court records, including second degree strangulation.
Shea said Drayton would eventually be extradited to New York.
In Los Angeles, Drayton faces charges of attempted murder, forced rape, forcible forcible confinement and sexual penetration by a foreign object, according to the Los Angeles district attorney’s statement.
Drayton faces a maximum sentence of over 23 years in life imprisonment if convicted. His bail has been set at $ 1.25 million, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.