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Samantha Woll murder update: Detroit police offer $15k reward for info

Related video: Jewish leader Samantha Woll laid to rest

A suspect arrested over the killing of Samantha Woll has been released by police in Detroit without charge, his attorney says.

Detroit police announced the suspect’s arrest last week, the first major development in the investigation since Woll was found brutally murdered at her home in Detroit’s Lafayette Park neighbourhood on 21 October.

The unnamed man, who reportedly knew Woll, was released on 10 November, his attorney Allison Kriger told the Detroit Free Press.

An “ambiguous statement” the suspect made to police is being probed by investigators, according to the Detroit News.

Under Michigan state law, criminal suspects must be charged within 72 hours of their arrest.

Now, Detroit police are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Authorities believe Woll was attacked inside her home and then stumbled out before collapsing on the sidewalk.

Police have said they have not found any evidence linking the shocking killing to antisemitism.

Detroit Police Chief James White stressed earlier this week that the arrest did not “represent the conclusion of our work in this case”.

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Detroit police offer $15k reward for info leading to arrest of killer

Detroit police are now offering a $15,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of Samantha Woll’s killer.

Crime Stoppers of Michigan announced the cash reward on Tuesday – as more than a month has now passed since the synagogue leader was brutally murdered at her home.

“This crime reflects a common challenge in our line of work, when an arrest is made as the investigation unfolds,” the Detroit Police Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We appeal to the community for any information and appreciate your patience as investigators thoroughly examine every aspect of this case. Our heartfelt thoughts remain with Ms Woll’s loved ones.”

Rachel Sharp17 November 2023 11:53

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More details about the previously detained suspect, revealed

On 8 November, police announced that they had taken a suspect into custody — however, authorities withheld his name and any charges against him. Although police did not identify the suspect’s gender, sources told ClickonDetroit that a man had been arrested.

That person was then set free on 10 November without charge, police confirmed today.

According to reporting by the outlet, the suspect was taken into custody based on the statements he gave to investigators. However, the suspect was subsequently released because those statements were too ambiguous to press murder charges.

Under Michigan law, suspects can only be detained without charges for 72 hours.

Kelly Rissman15 November 2023 17:42

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Police confirm the suspect who had been held in custody was released

Kelly Rissman15 November 2023 14:26

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The lastest update in a slow rolling case

The unidentified man, who reportedly attended Woll’s funeral, was arrested on Tuesday before being released on Friday, his attorney Allison Kriger told the Detroit Free Press.

Under Michigan state law, criminal suspects must be charged within 72 hours of their arrest.

Woll, 40, was found stabbed to death in her home in Detroit’s Lafayette Park neighbourhood on 21 October.

Kelly Rissman14 November 2023 14:00

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Why did it take weeks to announce a suspect?

Investigators announced the arrest of a suspect “for the murder of Samantha Woll” on 8 November – nearly two and a half weeks after her stabbing.

Police Chief White called the arrest “an encouraging development” but warned that “it does not represent the conclusion of our work in this case.”

Police did not reveal the suspect’s name or release the intended charges. However, local outlets reported that the suspect was a man.

A day after announcing the arrest, police wrote that they had hit a “critical juncture,” perhaps hinting that they were going to have to release the suspect in custody.

Kelly Rissman14 November 2023 12:00

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Not a hate crime, police say

Chief White said he is confident the crime was not motivated by antisemitism.

Investigators pointed to a large Israeli flag hanging in Woll’s home to support this claim.

On top of Woll’s role as a synagogue leader, speculation grew that her death could be a hate crime due to the rise in antisemitism following the Israel-Hamas war’s outbreak.

The Anti-Defamation League recorded a total of 312 antisemitic incidents between 7 October and 23 October this year; by contrast, last year in the same time period, ADL recorded 64 incidents, including four that were Israel-related.

Kelly Rissman14 November 2023 10:00

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  • Sam Woll attends a wedding.
  • Woll returns home at 12.30am from the wedding. It’s unclear whether she came back from the wedding alone or with someone.
  • At 6.30 am, police discover Woll’s body. It appears that she was stabbed inside of her home and collapsed later onto her yard.

The initial investigation:

  • Detroit Police Chief James White said he believed the suspect acted alone, and noted he didn’t think there was a threat to the community at large.
  • Police said there was no sign of forced entry at Woll’s home or any sign that she tried to defend herself.
  • Authorities also ruled out that her death was a hate crime, citing the untouched Israeli flag still hanging in Woll’s home.
  • A law enforcement source told CNN that the police were treating Woll’s death as arising from a domestic dispute.
  • Police announced that they had a suspect in custody for “the murder of Samantha Woll.” No details about the suspect, nor any charges were released.
  • Under Michigan law, suspects can only be held in custody without charges for 72 hours.
  • Investigators wrote in a statement that they had hit a “critical juncture” in the case.
  • The suspect was released from custody without explanation from authorities.

Kelly Rissman14 November 2023 08:00

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Social media users are offering condolences on Woll’s last Facebook post

In the comments section of Sam Woll’s last Facebook post, users are expressing their condolences for her family and their love of the late synagogue leader.

“I met Sam at Michigan. She is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever known,” one user wrote.

Another commented, “You’ve been on my heart and I cant process everything thats happening. My heart hurts and I continued to stay in prayer for your family.”

Yet another remarked, “Your radiating energy was immediately obvious to everyone around you.”

Kelly Rissman14 November 2023 06:00

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Director of Detroit’s American Jewish Committee Asher Lopatin mourns Woll’s death

We are absolutely heartbroken over the murder of Sam Woll, a thoughtful and beloved leader, neighbor, and member of the JCRC/AJC family. We are grieving for her family and with our community.

She will forever be remembered as a ray of sunlight to all who knew her. She was a longtime leader in AJC’s Global ACCESS and ACCESS Detroit Young Leadership Programs and a passionate Muslim-Jewish bridge builder.

We will cherish her memory. May it forever be a blessing.

Kelly Rissman14 November 2023 04:00

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Why wasn’t the suspect charged?

Under Michigan state law, a suspect can only be held without charges for 72 hours. That charging window appeared to close, as police released the suspect on 11 November. It’s unclear what drove the authorities to arrest the person and it’s also unclear what drove them to release him.

A criminal attorney not linked to the case told the Detroit Free Press that the suspect’s release likely indicates a lack of evidence to support the charges against him. “In a high profile case, they would want to err on the side of caution, move slowly, move methodically, to make sure the decision they make is actually supported by the evidence, especially in a case where the charge is going to be scrutinized,” the attorney, Adam Clements, told the outlet.

Kelly Rissman14 November 2023 02:00


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