Detroit police say they’ve identified several people of interest in synagogue president’s killing

Oct 23, 2023, 12:16 PM

DETROIT (AP) — Investigators have identified several people of interest in the fatal stabbing of a Detroit synagogue president but would not talk about their connections to the woman during a press conference Monday.

Authorities found 40-year-old Samantha Woll’s body outside her home early Saturday after a caller told police about a person lying on the ground.

Detroit Police Chief James E. White said police know Woll — who led the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue — attended a wedding Friday night and that she left the celebration around 12:30 a.m. He said there was no sign that anyone forced their way into her home and investigators believe Woll was stabbed inside before stumbling into the yard.

“We have a number of people that give us interest. We are just short of calling one of the people a suspect,” he said, adding that investigators believe a suspect “acted alone.”

Police have repeatedly said they have found no evidence that Woll’s killing “was motivated by antisemitism,” and White asked people not to draw quick conclusions as the investigation continues, including analyzing forensic evidence with support from the FBI.

“We believe that there are no other groups or anyone else at risk in regards to this particular incident,” White said Monday.

He said police have made that determination based on “several factors,” without specifying evidence leading to the conclusion. He also declined to answer questions about Woll’s injuries, saying those details could be critical to identifying a suspect in her killing.

“We have to be very, very cautious as to what information we share,” White said.

Woll was also active in state politics for Michigan Democrats, including working as a campaign staffer for Attorney General Dana Nessel and a former aide to Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin.

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Detroit police say they’ve identified several people of interest in synagogue president’s killing