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Man arrested for alleged murder of New York nurse suspected of other killings

"She was tortured. Tied up and tortured for hours," the victim's father told NBC New York.
by Andrew Blankstein and Kalhan Rosenblatt /

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A man arrested for holding a woman captive in California after allegedly killing a New York nurse might be connected to other incidents, according to NBC New York.

The suspect, identified in a Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office press release as Danueal Drayton, is accused of slaying Samantha Stewart, a nurse who was found dead inside her Queens, New York, home by her family on July 17. He is believed to be responsible for two murders in the New York City area, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the case.

"She was tortured. Tied up and tortured for hours," Kenneth Stewart, Samantha Stewart's father, told NBC New York. "I just imagine the pain she endured in the last moments of her life."

Stewart was found naked, wrapped in a blanket with injuries to her head and neck, according to NBC New York.

More than a week after the discovery of Stewart's body, Drayton was arrested by the Regional Fugitive Task Force in North Hollywood, where he was apprehended while holding another victim captive, according to New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea.

Danuel Drayton was captured in Los Angeles for the murder of Queens nurse Samantha Stewart, and he had another victim held captive at the time.
Danueal Drayton was captured in Los Angeles for the murder of Queens nurse Samantha Stewart, and he had another victim held captive at the time.Chief Dermot F. Shea / NYPD via Twitter

Drayton allegedly tried to kill the captive woman, according to California prosecutors, after he strangled and sexually assaulted her following a date.

"I believe that there will be more victims," Shea said, according to the New York Daily News.

Shea said the California woman and Stewart had one thing in common: They both met Drayton through a dating app.

"The common denominator in these two cases, one being a murder and one being a rape, is dating websites," Shea said during a press conference Thursday. "So this individual is known to us, and it is believed by us that this individual uses dating websites to meet women and victimize women."

A criminal complaint from June shows that Drayton had previously been charged in Nassau County with second-degree strangulation of a former girlfriend, but had been released on bail.

"Mr. Drayton did not have a prior criminal record and had not been indicted," Daniel Bagnuola, the director of the Office of Community Relations for the Nassau County Court System, said in a statement. "It would have been impossible for the Judge at that time to foresee the allegations that are presently unfolding and coming to light with regard to this defendant."

Drayton is now charged with attempted murder, forcible rape, false imprisonment by violence and sexual penetration by a foreign object in the California case, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He could face life in prison for the charges.

His bail is set at $1.25 million.

It was not immediately clear if he had been charged for crimes in New York state. Drayton is due to appear in a California court on Monday.

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