Update: Suspect in Fatal Stabbing of Samantha Woll Knew Her Well and Attended Same Synagogue

November 09, 2023, 2:20 PM by  Allan Lengel

Samantha Woll (Facebook photo)

The suspect in the fatal stabbing of Detroit synagogue President Samantha Woll knew her well and attended the same synagogue, sources tell Deadline Detroit.

Early on in the investigation, authorities did not suspect it was a random attack, sources said. The man was arrested Tuesday.

People locally, nationally, and even internationally, had speculated early on that the slaying might be linked to antisemitism and the Israel-Hamas war.

A day after her body was discovered, and about a half hour after the Sunday funeral in Oak Park, police announced that they saw no evidence of antisemitism and indicated they had a suspect.

Maria Miller, a spokesperson for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, said Thursday that police had yet to request a warrant and no charges had been filed. She declined to comment on the investigation.

Police have 48 hours from the time of arrest to file charges, unless there are special circumstances that would allow additional time. Police normally do not release the name of a suspect until they are charged and arraigned.

Samantha Woll at synagogue reopening in August.

Woll, 40, was president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, which had recently reopened after completing a $6 million renovation. Woll had spoken at the reopening ceremony and reminded everyone that there was more work on the building to be done. 

She was found stabbed multiple times on Oct. 21 outside her home in the Lafayette Park neighborhood in Detroit, just east of I-75. Police believe she was stabbed inside the home before running outside and collapsing. They said there were no signs of forced entry in her home. 

Detroit Police police arrested the suspect in Kalamazoo on Tuesday, according to the Detroit News.

"The details of the investigation will remain confidential at this time to ensure the integrity of the important steps that remain," Chief James White said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Investigators will be continuing their work with the Wayne County Prosecutors Office until the conclusion of this investigation."

Born and raised in Metro Detroit, she was described during the service as a person with artistic talent in areas like painting and jewelry making, and someone passionate about the city of Detroit and the outdoors.

She was involved in local, state, and national politics, and worked on campaigns for Democrats, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, state Sen. Stephanie Chang and Attorney General Dana Nessel. She was also described as someone who worked to unite people.

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