DETROIT (TCD) — Police are investigating a homicide after a 40-year-old local synagogue president was found fatally stabbed outside her home over the weekend.
Detroit Police Chief James E. White and other law enforcement officials spoke at a press conference Monday, Oct. 23, and shared details regarding Samantha Woll’s killing. On Saturday, Oct. 21, at approximately 6:30 a.m., someone called 911 to report finding an unresponsive woman on the 1300 block of Joliet Place. Police and EMS arrived at the scene and declared the victim, who they identified as Woll, deceased at the scene.
According to White, investigators at the scene discovered a “trail of blood leading to the victim’s residence,” leading them to believe Woll was stabbed inside her home.
Woll attended an event Friday night and returned home at approximately 12:30 a.m. Saturday. There were no signs of forced entry.
White said blood spatter experts are being called in to investigate. Detectives believe Woll was stabbed inside her home, then “stumbled outside and collapsed in the yard.” She was most likely there for “quite a while.”
He said he did not want to share some specific details due to the ongoing investigation and because there are “facts only known to our suspect and our detectives.” White confirmed detectives are speaking with multiple people.
Woll served as board president at Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in Detroit.
The Detroit Police Department released a statement Sunday saying, “The investigation into the death of Ms. Woll remains ongoing. At this time, however, no evidence has surfaced suggesting that this crime was motivated by antisemitism.”
White reiterated that in the press conference and said there weren’t any other groups at risk and that the suspect acted alone.
Woll’s killing occurred about two weeks after Israel and Hamas went to war. On Oct. 14, one week after the war broke out, a 71-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 6-year-old Muslim boy “due to [him] being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.” Federal officials are investigating that as a hate crime.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told the Detroit Free Press in a statement, “I am shocked, saddened, and horrified to learn of Sam’s brutal murder. Sam was as kind a person as I’ve ever known. 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.”