"I turned her over trying to shake her and say 'Samantha, '" Kenneth Stewart told ABC 7. When police tracked down Samantha Stewart's body, they found her laying in a pool of blood with her teeth knocked out.
The investigation into her murder eventually pointed authorities across the country.
Despite the initial difficulty, Drayton pleaded not guilty to an attempted murder charge stemming from his arrest in North Hollywood last week. He also claimed responsibility for another murder in either Queens or Nassau County, and there was a possibility of another California homicide, the police source said.
No lawyer representing him could be located. Shea said the suspect had used "multiple websites". "This individual is known to us and believed by us to be using dating websites to meet women and victimize women". While police weigh those claims, authorities do suspect he's involved in other crimes.
Now, police sources tell ABC News that Drayton is claiming he was involved in three murders in NY and as many as seven murders in total nationwide - though no evidence has emerged to validate Drayton's additional claims.
Law enforcement sources told The Daily News Drayton has cooperated in interviews with investigators.
In his confession to police, Drayton reportedly said, "My body did this, not my mind". "I didn't want to do this".
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The arrest in California brings to a close a series of alleged crimes perpetrated by Drayton across the summer.
Drayton, who has history of violence against women, including arrests for unlawful imprisonment and strangulation in CT, had bought a one-way ticket to California nearly immediately after Stewart was killed, Shea said. He is now on probation in that state for second-degree harassment, according to the Hartford Courant. N. Scott Banks, the attorney-in-charge at the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, which represented Drayton in the NY case, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Monday. During a second court appearance, Drayton asked to be released - over the objection of prosecutors - and Nassau County District Court Judge Erica Prager agreed to release him without bail. "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". The 23-year-old victim in that case had met Drayton on Tinder and they spoke for a few hours before meeting up, the officials said.
Danueal Drayton is accused of using dating websites to strangle a nurse in Queens and rape a woman in Brooklyn, police said in July 2018. As with Stewart, the unnamed rape victim also allegedly knew Drayton from Tinder. He also has a no-bail fugitive warrant from NY for murder.
Drayton was supposed to be arraigned last Friday, the same day he was charged, but he missed the bus to court, officials said.
The suspect, in the meantime, had already flown out to Los Angeles on a one-way-ticket.
He was arrested last Tuesday, authorities said. According to CBS LA, Drayton was discovered with a 28-year-old woman he had allegedly sexually assaulted and refused to let leave a hotel.
Danueal Drayton, 27, made it to court following officers' hard time getting him to appear.