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November 30, 2023

Detroit synagogue president found fatally stabbed outside her home

Detroit synagogue president found fatally stabbed outside her home

A Detroit synagogue president was found fatally stabbed outside her home Saturday morning.

Samantha Woll, 40, led the congregation of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, which confirmed Woll’s death in a statement. “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected death of Samantha Woll, our Board President,” it said.

“May her memory be a blessing,” the statement continued.

Mourners attended a funeral service for Woll on Sunday.

On Saturday evening, Detroit Police Chief James E. White  asked the public for patience as resources poured into the investigation. He promised an update Sunday morning.

Samantha Woll.Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue via Facebook

“I am asking that everyone remain patient while investigators carefully examine every aspect of the available evidence,” he said in a statement. “It is important that no conclusions be drawn until all of the available facts are reviewed.” 

ADL Michigan, the state chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, also asked Michiganders to refrain from speculating on motive.

“As we mourn her tragic passing, we urge the community to refrain from speculation and allow law enforcement to gather facts,” it said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Authorities said a 911 caller early Saturday reported a person lying on the ground unresponsive at Woll’s home. Police discovered multiple stab wounds on Woll’s body and found a trail of blood leading to her house, where they believe the crime occurred.

Woll had ties to state Democrats. She previously worked for Rep. Elissa Slotkin and served on state Attorney General Dana Nessel’s re-election campaign.

Slotkin praised Woll’s dedication to serving Detroit communities.

“She did for our team as Deputy District Director what came so naturally to her: helping others & serving constituents,” Slotkin wrote in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Separately, in politics & in the Jewish community, she dedicated her short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in the face of darkness.”

Nessel expressed shock and horror at her death.

“Sam was as kind a person as I’ve ever known,” she said. 

“She was driven by her sincere love of her community, state and country. Sam truly used her faith and activism to create a better place for everyone.”

Uwa Ede-Osifo

Uwa Ede-Osifo is a news associate for NBC News.

Matthew Mata

Matthew Mata is an assignment editor in NBC News’ Chicago bureau.

Andrew Blankstein

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western U.S., specializing in crime, courts and homeland security. 

Dennis Romero



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