Man in custody in slaying of Detroit Jewish community leader Samantha Woll released without charges

Samantha Woll poses for a photo in Detroit on Oct. 13, 2022. (David Guralnick / Detroit News via AP)

DETROIT — A man who was held in custody in connection with the stabbing death of prominent Jewish community leader Samantha Woll has been released, his attorney said Saturday.

The person, whose identity has not been released, had been taken into custody Wednesday in Kalamazoo, about 140 miles west of Detroit, authorities said.

Detroit police and a spokesperson for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Saturday.

The Detroit Free Press reported that as of Friday afternoon, the prosecutor’s office said it had not received a warrant request in the killing of Woll.

Woll, president of the board of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, was found dead outside her home in Detroit’s Lafayette Park neighborhood on the morning of Oct. 21, investigators have said.

Woll, 40, had attended a wedding the night before and left the festivities at 12:30 a.m., police said.

“While at the scene, police officers observed a trail of blood leading officers to the victim’s residence, which is where we believe the crime occurred,” Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters shortly after the slaying. “What we believe to have happened is after she was attacked inside the home, she stumbled outside and collapsed in the yard.”

Early in the investigation, police said there was no evidence to suggest her slaying was a hate crime. And authorities reiterated this week that they still don’t believe it was a bias attack.

On Wednesday when announcing an arrest had been made, White said that details about the case were being kept confidential “to ensure the integrity of the important steps that remain.”

Crimes against Muslim Americans and Jewish Americans have been of increasing concern to police in the wake of Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel and the ensuing devastating Israeli bombardment of the impoverished and besieged Gaza Strip.

Jesse Kirsch reported from Detroit, David K. Li from New York City and Phil Helsel from Los Angeles.

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