The president of the Detroit synagogue was fatally stabbed outside her home

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DETROIT – A Detroit synagogue president was found stabbed to death outside her home Saturday, police said. The motive was unknown.

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Emergency medical personnel pronounced the woman, identified as Samantha Woll in a statement from Mayor Mike Duggan, dead at the scene, Cpl. said Dan Donakowski.

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“At the crime scene, police officers noticed a trail of blood leading to the victim’s apartment, where the crime is believed to have occurred,” Donakowski said.

Woll, 40, has led the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue since 2022 and is a former aide to Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin and a campaign staffer for Attorney General Dana Nessel, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Police have not identified a possible motive and are investigating, the Free Press reported.

Police found Woll around 6:30 a.m. after someone called to alert them to a person lying on the ground, the Free Press reported.

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Detroit Police Chief James E. White said the killing left many questions unanswered and he asked the public for patience as investigators review all available evidence.

“Over the course of the last few hours, DPD has mobilized many of its resources and utilized all law enforcement and community resources at its disposal to advance the investigation,” White said in a statement released Saturday evening. “There will be an update on the investigation tomorrow.”


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In a statement, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Woll’s death was heartbreaking.

“She was a source of light, a beacon in her community who worked hard to make Michigan a better place,” the governor said.

Michigan State Police have been assigned to assist the Detroit Police Department in the investigation, Whitmer said.

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Nessel issued a statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying she was “shocked, saddened and horrified.”

“Sam was the kindest person I ever knew,” Nessel said. “She was driven by her genuine love for her community, her state and her country. Sam has truly used her faith and commitment to create a better place for everyone.”

Slotkin also commented on X, saying she was “heartbroken by this news.”

Duggan issued a statement saying he was “devastated” to learn of Woll’s death.

“Sam’s loss has left a huge void in the Detroit community,” the mayor said. “The entire city joins her family and friends in mourning her tragic death.”

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