Detroit police make arrest in murder of Jewish leader Samantha Woll

Woll was found stabbed to death near her home in Detroit’s Lafayette Park last month.

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

Samantha Woll

Detroit police have arrested a suspect in last month’s fatal stabbing of metro Detroit Jewish leader Samantha Woll, Detroit Police Chief James White announced Wednesday.

“While this is an encouraging development in our desire to bring closure for Ms. Woll’s family, it does not represent the conclusion of our work in this case,” White said in a statement. “The details of the investigation will remain confidential at this time to ensure the integrity of the important steps that remain.”

A pillar of metro Detroit’s Jewish community who served as president at the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue since 2022, Woll was found dead with multiple stab wounds outside her Lafayette Park home the morning of Oct. 21, according to police. She had attended a wedding the evening before and left just after midnight, police said.

In a press conference held by the Detroit Police Department two days after her death, White said he was “confident” the killing was not a hate crime, asking the community to remain patient and not jump to conclusions while investigators and law enforcement partners continue their work. The suspect’s name has not yet been released by police.

Woll, 40, was known by many as a “bridge-builder” and social justice activist who was very active in metro Detroit’s Jewish community as well as in local politics — serving as a former aide to Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin and a campaign staffer for Attorney General Dana Nessel. She was a graduate of the University of Michigan where she served as chairperson of both the Tzedek (social action) group and the Volunteers in Action group at U-M Hillel.

In his statement on Wednesday, White said investigators will be continuing their work with the Wayne County Prosecutors Office until the conclusion of the investigation.

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  • Jenny Sherman
    Jenny Sherman is 101.9 WDET's Digital Editor. She received her bachelor’s in journalism from Michigan State University and has worked for more than a decade as a reporter and editor for various media outlets throughout metro Detroit.