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'He Was A Cool Guy,' Says Woman Who May Have Narrowly Escaped Alleged Tinder Serial Killer

Zynea Barney remembers her first date with suspected serial killer Danuel Drayton, who was arrested for the murder of Samantha Stewart on July 26.

By Eric Shorey
Serial Killers that Charmed Their Victims

Police think they have discovered a serial killer who lured victims to their deaths on dating apps. Now, a woman who may have narrowly escaped the alleged murderer describes their suspicious and violent liaison.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Zynea Barney, 26, remembered her first date with suspected serial killer Danueal Drayton. The two had met on the dating app Plenty of Fish.

"There weren’t any issues. Nothing awkward,” said Barney, recalling how she was smitten by his large vocabulary and knowledge of cars. “He was a cool guy...He seemed nice. He was a good listener. I don’t know if he was pretending, but he would act like he was interested in what I do for a living.”

The two dated for six months, with Barney noting Drayton's jealousy and deception throughout the tryst.

“Each week, I would distance myself more and more,” she said. “That’s when I started to see the possessiveness and aggression. He would pop up at my house, knocking on my door. One day, I didn’t answer my phone and he sat outside my window and watched me and called my name.”

Drayton informed Barney that he'd be moving to California from Long Island, New York. After pressuring her to continue hanging out, Barney asked Drayton to exit her car.

"I put my car in drive, my seatbelt was still on, doors were still locked,” she said, recalling the June 13 altercation. “Then I told him to go. He looked at me and said, ‘So we’re really not going to get back together? You don’t ever see a future.'"

That's when he began strangling her. 

"Everything happened so fast...He was choking me, saying “F*cking b*tch, I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you. No, no. I told you, it’s just me and you.’"

Barney managed to get out of the vehicle. Three workers nearby intervened after asking if she was OK. They alerted police.

Barney went home, collected her 3-year-old son, and fled. She feared that Drayton would continue to pursue her.

“The next day, he kept calling me. He kept popping up to my house, telling me he was going to kill my son,” she said, noting that he threatened to set her car on fire. That day he slashed her tires.

Police finally arrested Drayton on June 30, charging him with strangulation and criminal trespass. He was released days later, on July 5.

Drayton is now accused of murdering nurse Samantha Stewart in her bedroom in Queens on July 17. Police captured him on July 26 after a manhunt that ended in California. He was discovered with a hostage who he had allegedly raped and tortured, according to WCBS-TV in New York City.

Investigators now think Drayton may be responsible for up to six more murders. They believe he targeted his victims through Tinder. He has already confessed to two killings.

Drayton has a lengthy criminal past: He had been arrested five times between 2011 and February of 2018 in Connecticut on charges that included unlawful restraint, violating an order of protection, and harassment, according to the Hartford Courant.

The investigation into other potential crimes Drayton's may have committed is ongoing.

[Photo: NYPD]

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