Ex-girlfriend of Queens murder suspect has a warning for dating app users

NEW YORK — A woman who dated the man accused of committing horrendous crimes against women coast to coast, including strangling a nurse in Queens, spoke out Thursday about their relationship and surviving an attempt on her own life.

Zynea Barney said she and Danueal Drayton met on the dating website Plenty of Fish and dated for six months before he choked her when she attempted to end the relationship.

The two were sitting in a car at Inwood Park when he allegedly swung himself over the seats and on top of Barney, putting his hands around her neck and digged his thumbs into her flesh.

Barney said she managed to open the car door with one hand and unbuckle herself with the other. As she flung herself out of the vehicle, and from his grasp, people ran over to help.

Drayton was arrested for the incident, but later released by a Nassau County judge. Weeks later Samantha Stewart, a nurse in Queens, was found strangled in her apartment.

When asked about why Drayton was released on bail, despite having a rap sheet from 2011 to 2018 in New Haven, Conn. that included arrests for strangulation, unlawful restraint, violating an order of protection, and harassment, a spokesperson for the Nassau County courts released this statement:

"A Judge has broad discretion when determining whether to set bail. Many factors are to be considered, including the views of other agencies involved within the process. In New York State, the purpose of bail is to ensure a defendant's return to court; Mr. Drayton did not have a prior criminal record and had not been indicted."

Drayton was later found in Los Angeles on July 24 with a woman held captive in her own home. He has been detained and charged with attempted murder, forcible rape, false imprisonment by violence and sexual penetration by a foreign object, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office tells PIX11 sister station KTLA.

He has not yet been extradited back to New York City to face murder charges in Stewart's death, and investigators are now probing whether or not Drayton is involved in other killings or rapes.

Barney said she has spoken to the woman attacked, raped and held captive in Los Angeles, and the two hope to meet.

Drayton is believed to have met all of his victims through various dating apps, and Barney said she is sharing her story with PIX11, and the world, in hopes of raising awareness around the potential dangers of meeting people online.