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Detroit Synagogue President Found Murdered Outside Her Home

Police tape blocks access near the scene where Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue president, Samantha Woll, was found dead in Detroit, October 21, 2023. The politically active leader of a Detroit synagogue was found dead with stab wounds outside her home on October 21, and police said the motive of the slaying was not known. The killing came at a moment of escalating tensions in Jewish and Muslim communities across the United States over the Israel-Hamas conflict that has taken thousands of lives this month. The victim of Saturday's murder, Samantha Woll, 40, presided over the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in Detroit. (Photo by Sarah RICE / AFP) (Photo by SARAH RICE/AFP via Getty Images)

Samantha Woll, the president of a Detroit synagogue, was found stabbed to death Saturday outside her home, officials said.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a social media post that Woll was murdered.

Nessel wrote she was, “shocked, saddened and horrified to learn of Sam’s brutal murder. Sam was as kind a person as I’ve ever known.”

The Detroit Police Department said in a statement to CBS News that officers responded to a 911 call in downtown Detroit’s Lafayette Park neighborhood Saturday morning, where they found a victim dead at the scene from multiple stab wounds.

Police said officers “observed a trail of blood” from the body which led them to the victim’s home in the 1300 block of Joliet Place, where the slaying is believed to have occurred.

A motive for the killing is not yet known, police said.

Although police did not identify the victim, the Detroit Free Press reported that the body was found outside the home of Woll.

“It is important that no conclusions be drawn until all of the available facts are reviewed,” the police department wrote on social media Saturday night. Police said it would provide an update on the investigation Sunday.

Issac Agree Downtown Synagogue, where Woll was board president, said in a statement that they were “shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected death,” and they “do not have more information,” but will share it when it becomes available.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he was “devastated today to learn of the loss of one of Detroit’s great young leaders,” and that the entire city, “joins with her family and friends in mourning her tragic death.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement that she had been briefed on the killing, adding that she had directed Michigan State Police to assist in the investigation into “this vicious crime.”

“My heart breaks for her family, her friends, her synagogue, and all those who were lucky enough to know her,” Whitmer wrote. “She was a source of light, a beacon in her community who worked hard to make Michigan a better place.”

A spokesperson for the FBI told CBS News it was aware of the incident, and would be available to assist Detroit police with the investigation.

Source: CBS News