Detroit police say Samantha Woll’s murder doesn’t appear to be a hate crime

Woll was found stabbed to death near her home in Detroit’s Lafayette Park neighborhood on Saturday.

Samantha Woll, president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, was found dead outside her Detroit home on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023.

Samantha Woll, president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, was found dead outside her Detroit home on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023.

Family and friends mourned the loss of Samantha Woll, the head of a Detroit synagogue board, on Sunday as police continue an investigation into her murder.

The Detroit Police Department found Woll’s body early Saturday morning with multiple stab wounds and a trail of blood leading to her nearby home in Lafayette Park.

U.S. officials cautioned there could be a rise in crimes against Jews and Muslims following the new surge of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip. DPD says there is no evidence that Woll’s murder was a hate crime.

“No evidence has surfaced suggesting that this crime was motivated by antisemitism,” Detroit Police Chief James White said in a statement. “I again ask the community to remain patient while our investigators and law enforcement partners continue their work. Everything that can be done to bring this matter to closure is being called into service.”

Michigan State Police and the FBI are assisting local law enforcement in the murder investigation.

Woll worked on the campaigns of several Michigan Democrats, including Attorney General Dana Nessel, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin and State Sen. Stephanie Chang of Detroit.

Woll also helped build bridges of trust between Jews and Muslims in metro Detroit.

In 2015, while promoting an art contest that brought Muslim and Jewish high school students together, Woll told WDET that faith leaders in the region were working to identify crimes targeting racial groups.

“It’s terrible that these antisemitic hate crimes occur…but they are being measured. And so one of the things is that — because the Jewish community is so well-organized — is that we’re able to keep track and to respond,” Woll said at the time.

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  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.