New person of interest revealed in Detroit murder of Samantha Woll

Police have failed to arrest a suspect nearly two months after synagogue leader’s stabbing

Rachel Sharp
Monday 11 December 2023 12:48 GMT
Slain Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll's last text revealed

A new person of interest has been taken into custody in connection with the murder of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll.

Detroit Police Department confirmed in a statement on Sunday that “a person of interest has been taken into custody in furtherance of the investigation into the murder of Samantha Woll”.

“In an effort to ensure the integrity of this ongoing investigation, no further details will be released at this time. Additional information will be released in the near future,” the statement read.

This marks the second person of interest in the case which has gone unsolved for almost two months after the synagogue leader was brutally stabbed to death at her home in Detroit.

Woll, 40, had spent the night of 20 October at a wedding, before returning to her home in the Lafayette Park neighbourhood at around 12.30am. It remains unclear if she came home alone or with someone.

Her body was found outside the home at around 6.30am that morning.

Samantha Woll was murdered at her home in Detroit

A trail of blood led inside the property, prompting investigators to believe the attack began inside, before she stumbled outside and collapsed from multiple stab wounds. There was no sign of forced entry at her home, police said.

The attack instantly sparked fears of a hate crime due to the timing of the attack, coming just days after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on 7 October – storming over the border, killing around 1,200 and taking hundreds of hostages back into Gaza.

Woll was the president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in Detroit and was well-known in the community for working to build bridges between the Jewish and Muslim communities.

However, Detroit police have insisted that there is no evidence of her murder being a hate crime and pointed out that an Israeli flag hanging on the wall of her home was left untouched.

Weeks later on 8 November, what appeared to be a major breakthrough in the case unfolded when a first person of interest was taken into custody in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

But, the man – who was never identified by authorities – was released three days later without charge, as the 72-hour charging window closed.

Investigators previously told CNN that her killing is thought to have arisen from a domestic dispute, but it is not clear what led them to this belief.

Since the release of the first person of interest, the case has rumbled on unsolved for another month – before a second person was taken into custody this weekend.

While Detroit police are currently staying tight-lipped about the individual now in custody, two sources toldThe Detroit News that it is a man who is not an acquaintance of Woll’s – but actually appears to be a total stranger.

The man is also not the same person who was arrested last month, the sources said.

Woll’s murder shocked the local area, where she has been remembered for her efforts to unite the Jewish and Muslim communities in Detroit.

Over 1,000 mourners turned up at her funeral including Michigan Senator Stephanie Chang and Attorney General Dana Nessell.

“Sam did more for our community, our state, our world, our lives in her short time here on Earth than most will ever accomplish in 1,000 lifetimes,” Ms Nessel said in the eulogy.

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