Danueal Drayton: The Online Dating Serial Killer
Just how dangerous is online or app dating?
In the case of Danueal Drayton, age 27, just meeting him through a dating app could have dangerous and even deadly consequences. The most frightening news of all? Drayton is not only thought to have killed one woman and strangled two others, but he may also be a serial killer, according to his admission.
The Danueal Drayton Case
Drayton has told police that he has schizophrenia and has bipolar disorder, but the women he targeted on dating apps and websites were not aware of that. To them, he appeared to be an attractive man to go on a date with.
Unfortunately, Drayton’s twisted vices and mental health issues fueled his motivation to meet women. Although he would later claim that he didn’t want to assault or kill a New York woman, the “voices” he heard told him to.
In 2018, police investigators say that Drayton sexually and physically assaulted a 28-year-old woman inside her own North Hollywood apartment. He choked her until she lost consciousness and falsely imprisoned her.
He has been charged with attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object, and false imprisonment. Police soon realized that the woman in Hollywood, California, was not his first victim. They’ve linked him to the murder of a nurse in Brooklyn, Samantha Stewart, and another assault in the same area.
As reported by ABC News, NYPD Chief of Detectives, Dermot Shea, said (about Drayton):
The common denominator in these cases -- one being a murder and one being a rape -- is dating websites. This individual is known to us and believed by us to be using dating websites to meet women and victimize women.
One of these women was Zynea Barney, 26. She met Drayton on an online matchmaking site. While Barney was looking for a relationship, Drayton said he was not. She ignored him at first, but they soon began messaging and continued their connection via text. They talked by phone, and she considered him a “good guy” with a great “head on his shoulders”.
As their interaction grew, they met in person and began dating. They would see one another every day. Drayton even spent time with Barney’s son, and they would go to the park or out to eat. Their relationship soured when she realized that he was talking to another woman he had met online. The woman claimed she was just a friend, but Barney was upset.
As she distanced herself from Drayton, in an attempt to call things off, he began sleeping outside of her home – still pleading with her to forgive him. When he used an outdoor ladder to climb up to her home’s window, while her son was in the house, she realized she was afraid, and there was no hope in reuniting.
Despite this, she agreed to meet with him one last time before he left to work in California. Although the visit began okay, when she told him she was not interested in getting back together, he lunged and began strangling her inside her vehicle.
He told her he would kill her. Fueled by adrenaline and realizing her life was at risk, he managed to recline her seat and roll out the door, where several nearby factory workers helped her. Drayton ran off.
A police report was filed, her neck photographed, and he was eventually arrested and jailed. However, before that, Drayton continued to call her, and his voicemail messages seemed to show differing personalities. She was not aware he’d been let out of jail and had left the area.
In custody since his arrest for his attack on a woman in Hollywood, Drayton has claimed that he has murdered about seven women nationwide. Police are attempting to verify those statements due to his mental instability. Drayton was initially found incompetent since he seemed to be suffering from psychosis.
He would moan loudly and needed to be tied to a chair during courtroom sessions. Later, he was found competent for trial, presumably as the medicine he was being administered began to take effect.
The most frightening part about this cross-country catfish story is that Zynea Barney thought she had met a great guy. She took the time to get to know him, not knowing he was a murderer. Have you ever met anyone you didn’t trust online? What safety rules have you used to protect yourself when you online date?
On Zynea’s first date with Drayton, they went to a hotel and slept in separate beds. Although she was one of the lucky ones to survive a date with Drayton, being alone with a stranger can have scary consequences. Make sure that you stay in public places, drive your car, and assure that you are not followed when you online date.
Always background checks the name, email address, username, and phone number of anyone you agree to meet. If you don’t have those details, you can search their photographs from their online or app dating profiles by taking a screenshot and searching by image.
At Social Catfish, we want you to be prepared with the tools you need to keep safe. Don’t ignore your safety, and regret it later. Also, educate friends, family members, and children on how to be safe online.
Sadly, Drayton is not the only potential serial killer who uses dating apps. Stay safe and use Social Catfish to run a background check on your dates!