The president of a Detroit synagogue was found stabbed to death outside her home on Saturday night, authorities said.
Samantha Woll was the president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, which serves the metropolitan area of Detroit.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected death of Samantha Woll, our Board President,” the synagogue said in an alert it sent its congregants. “At this point, we do not have more information, but will share more when it becomes available.”
Detroit police responded to a 911 call around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday and found a body outside a home on Joliet Place.
The woman, who was not immediately identified, had suffered from multiple stab wounds, police said.
A trail of blood led investigators to Woll’s body.
Police have cautioned against speculation of the motive of her death adding in a statement Sunday that they do not believe that antisemitism played a role.
The news of her death comes amid escalating tensions between Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities across the United States, as war rages in the Middle East.
As CBN News has reported, after Hamas’s savage massacre of Jewish civilians, the terrorist group then publicly called all Muslims to engage in a “day of rage” targeting Jews on Friday, Oct. 13. And more recently, an official document from the Palestinian Authority (PA) called for the murder of Jews.
The Detroit area of Michigan is home to one of the largest populations of Palestinians in America, but authorities maintain that Woll’s death was not motivated by antisemitism.
“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,” Chief James White’s statement read.
“DPD investigators are working with the FBI to forensically analyze all of the information obtained up to this point in an effort to ascertain the timeline that ultimately led to Ms. Woll’s death. Individuals with information that may further this investigation are being interviewed,” his statement continued.
Authorities are investigating her death as a homicide.
The Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue shared in a statement that her death was a shock.
“At this point, we do not have more information but will share more when it becomes available. May her memory be a blessing,” the synagogue said in a Facebook post about the 40-year-old Jewish leader.
As news of her death spread, tributes from the community are pouring in.
“My heart breaks for her family, her friends, her synagogue, and all those who were lucky enough to know her,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.
Whitmer added, “She was a source of light, a beacon in her community who worked hard to make Michigan a better place. Today, let’s hold one another close. Let’s keep Samantha and all those who loved her in our hearts.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he was “devastated” by the loss of one of the city’s up-and-coming leaders.
“Just weeks ago, I shared a day of joy with Sam at the dedication of the newly renovated Downtown Synagogue. It was a project she successfully led with great pride and enthusiasm,” Duggan said. “Sam’s loss has left a huge hole in the Detroit community. This entire city joins with her family and friends in mourning her tragic death.”
Woll was also involved in politics, working as a deputy district director for U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI). Slotkin posted a statement to X following her death.
“She did for our team as Deputy District Director what came so naturally to her: helping others & serving constituents. Separately, in politics & in the Jewish community, she dedicated her short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in the face of darkness,” Slotkin said.
Tributes from friends also poured in.
Her friend, Eric Feldman, said on Facebook that Woll was an “amazing leader.”
“Today she was murdered at just 40 with so much ahead of her,” Feldman wrote. “Sam, you were a light upon our community and we will ensure that your memory endures a blessing. My deepest condolences to her family, her friends, and to all of us as we grieve this tragic and horrifying loss to our community.”
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