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‘Person of interest’ in custody in Detroit synagogue killing

(NewsNation) — Detroit police said Sunday a person of interest was taken into custody in connection to the killing of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll. 

The man is reportedly not an acquaintance of Woll’s and appears to be a random stranger, according to the Detroit News.

Last month, police released a suspect they arrested after holding him for 72 hours. The latest person of interest in custody is reportedly not the same person. 

Woll was found outside her home with multiple stab wounds on Oct. 21. Police said they have not found evidence that antisemitism was at play in her murder. 

The 40-year-old Woll, or “Sam” as she was known to friends and family, was president of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. 

She had attended a wedding Friday night and left the event around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Detroit Police Chief James White said. She was stabbed inside her home and got outside where she collapsed and died, White said. Her home was east of downtown. 

White previously said that investigators were working with the FBI to analyze forensic evidence to piece together a timeline leading to Woll’s death. That included interviewing “individuals with information that may further this investigation.”

The timing of Woll’s death led some to speculate the stabbing was motivated by antisemitism connected to the war between Israel and Hamas. However, police cautioned the public about drawing early conclusions and said initial investigations showed no indications the attack was a hate crime. Authorities also said there was no sign of forced entry at Woll’s home.

About 1,000 people attended Woll’s funeral Sunday at Hebrew Memorial Chapel in Oak Park. She had worked for U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and on the political campaign of Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats.

Woll was born and raised in the Detroit area, and was a University of Michigan graduate. She became the president of the board of directors at Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in 2022.

Mourners noted the crowd was comprised of people belonging to many different religions, which friends and family said symbolized who Woll was. She was credited for her interfaith work, including by Muslim advocacy groups. Family members said she looked for ways to connect to other movements, including Black Lives Matter.

Colleagues remembered how she loved travel, the arts and had an “infectious smile” that would light up a room. The service included moments of levity about her nature, with jokes about her food allergies and how when she was complimented on something she wore, she would remove it and give it away.

NewsNation’s Kelsey KernstineTaylor DelandroCassie Buchman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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