What to Know
Police say they have a person in custody in the killing of a 29-year-old Queens nurse found naked and strangled with her teeth knocked out
The suspect is a man Samantha Stewart recently started dating after meeting on a popular dating app, according to her family
The suspect was captured in California, where he may have killed another woman, authorities say
Police say they've arrested a suspect in the killing of a New York City nurse found naked and wrapped in a blanket in her bedroom last week, with her teeth knocked out.
Authorities captured 27-year-old Danueal Drayton in California, "prior to possibly taking another life," according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, and when he was arrested by the Regional Fugitive Task Force in North Hollywood, "he had another victim held captive." The New York Post reports a woman was found tied up in the suspect's hotel room there.
"He's off the streets but may have victimized others via online dating sites," tweeted Shea.
Drayton was still in California Thursday, and police say it could be awhile before he's extradited back to New York because he's facing charges there.
Drayton is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in connection to the California victim he allegedly held captive, according to KNBC.
He faces one count each of attempted murder, forcible rape, false imprisonment by violence and sexual penetration by foreign object, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney Office.
However, Drayton was known to law enforcement having been arrested in Nassau County in June. Court documents say he was charged with criminal mischief, trespassing, and strangulation for allegedly attacking his former-girlfriend in Inwood Park and slashing her tires.
A judge ordered Drayton to be released on his own recognizance July 5, over the prosecutor's objection, according to the Nassau County District Attorney's Office.
Kenneth Stewart, the father of slain nurse Samantha Stewart, told News 4 the suspect recently started dating Samantha after meeting on a popular dating app.
Stewart, 29, was a registered nurse at Long Island Jewish Hospital and a beloved role model for her brothers and sister, her family said. Her brother discovered her unconscious with injuries to her neck and head inside her Springfield Gardens home around 9 p.m. last Tuesday, according to the NYPD.
The brother said he found her naked and wrapped in a blanket in a bedroom, according to Kenneth Stewart. He added that she appeared to have been strangled and that her tongue was sticking out and her teeth were knocked out.
She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Kenneth said the family had never met the suspect.
"The last place they went, a restaurant in Brooklyn," he said. "My daughter paid with her credit card."
Surveillance video from the restaurant helped in identifying the suspected killer, the father said.
"She was tortured," said Kenneth Stewart. "Tied up and tortured for hours. I just imagine the pain she endure in the last moments of her life."
The devastated family wants to protect other women from the perils of online dating as they prepare to say goodbye to Samantha.
"What I would like to say to young women dating, you need to be careful," said aunt Ruby Dixon. "Need to let someone in their family know who they are dating."