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December 6, 2023

No evidence found linking synagogue president’s fatal stabbing to antisemitism, Detroit police chief says

No evidence found linking synagogue president’s fatal stabbing to antisemitism, Detroit police chief says

Detroit police said Sunday that they have found no evidence that indicates the fatal stabbing of a Detroit synagogue president this weekend was linked to antisemitism.

Police continue to investigate the death of Samantha Woll, 40, who was found stabbed outside her home Saturday morning, Detroit Police Chief James E. White said in a statement Sunday.

“No evidence has surfaced suggesting that this crime was motivated by antisemitism,” White said.

Multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said much of the same — there was no evidence of forced entry at Woll’s home, her body displayed no defensive wounds, and there was a large Israeli flag in the residence that appeared to be untouched. 

A 911 caller early Saturday reported a person lying on the ground unresponsive at Woll’s home. Police found Woll with multiple stab wounds and a trail of blood leading to her house.

White promised continued vigilance for the case.

“DPD investigators are working with the FBI to forensically analyze all of the information obtained up to this point in an effort to ascertain the timeline that ultimately led to Ms. Woll’s death,” he said. “Individuals with information that may further this investigation are being interviewed.”

The chief asked for the community to remain patient while the investigation continues.

“Everything that can be done to bring this matter to closure is being called into service,” he said.

Woll led the congregation of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. Mourners attended a funeral service for her Sunday.

“You so deeply wanted peace for this world,” her sister, Monica Woll Rosen, said during the service, according to coverage from NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit.

“You fought for everyone regardless of who they were or where they came from,” she said. “You were the definition of a leader. Our world is shattered without you.”

Woll had ties to state Democrats in her past. She worked for Rep. Elissa Slotkin and served on the re-election campaign of state Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Slotkin praised Woll’s dedication and service.

“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. “Separately, in politics & in the Jewish community, she dedicated her short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in the face of darkness.”

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, called Woll a friend in a post to her Facebook page on Saturday.

“My friend, and a member of our organizing community, Sam Woll, was murdered,” she wrote. “I have no words. She always had a sweet smile to offer and the warmest eyes to greet you.”

“Our community is devastated,” Tlaib said.

Antonio Planas

Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

Angela Dallman

Angela Dallman is a producer for NBC News based in Minneapolis.

Tom Winter


Dennis Romero



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