A suspect in the killing of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll has been released without charge after being arrested earlier this week.
The unnamed suspect, who was reportedly close with Woll and attended her funeral, was released Friday after being arrested in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Tuesday.
The release comes after Detroit police said they were at a ‘critical juncture’ in the case on Wednesday, after they had made the arrest but had not charged the suspect.
Woll, 40, was stabbed to death in her home on October 21 after returning from a wedding.
Samantha Woll, 40, was head of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue since 2022, and was known for her work with several Democratic politicians including Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin
A suspect was arrested earlier this week in her murder, however the unnamed man has now been released after cops failed to bring charges
The Jewish leader’s body was discovered outside her home in the downtown area of Detroit, a trail of blood was found leading to her property
The release, first reported by the Detroit Free Press, also came after cops executed a search warrant on the suspect’s home earlier this week.
The arrest was described as an ‘encouraging development’ by Detroit police chief James E White on Wednesday.
He added that the arrest ‘does not represent the conclusion of our work in this case.’
Despite investigators zeroing in on the alleged killer, Michigan law’s three-day limit means suspects must be released no more than three days after an arrest if charges are not brought.
The Jewish leader’s stabbing fueled speculation it was linked to the conflict in the Middle East, however there is no indication the murder had any political or racial motivation.
Woll was discovered outside her home after a local followed a trail of blood to her property, with it believed she was stabbed inside her property before stumbling out.
The synagogue president had attended a wedding the night prior, and investigators said there were no signs of forced entry.
White added that investigators were being ‘very, very careful’ about what information they share, and would not confirm if she left the wedding alone.
She had served as the president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue since 2022, and was lauded for her work with Democratic politicians including Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.
Woll was noted for her work with several Democratic politicians and had been praised for building bridges between Detroit’s Muslim and Jewish communities
Michigan Attorney General Danal Nessel paid a heartbreaking tribute to Woll (pictured together), where she said the Jewish leader was ‘as kind a person as I’ve ever known’
Woll, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene after being found by a passer-by outside her home in the downtown Lafayette district with multiple stab wounds
Police chief James E White has ruled out a hate crime but insists they have to be ‘very, very careful’ about what information they can release
As the investigation into her murder stalls, Adam Clements, a criminal attorney with the Perkins Law Group who has no ties to Woll’s case, said it likely indicates a lack of evidence in the killing.
‘If they made a decision to release someone, it’s because they believe they don’t have enough evidence to charge or they don’t believe it would be in their best interest to charge at that particular time,’ Clements, who defends people accused of homicide in Detroit, told the Detroit Free Press.
‘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.’
Tributes quickly poured in for the unmarried activist, who was noted for her work building bridges between the Jewish and Muslim communities, as her synagogue expressed shock at her sudden ‘unexpected’ passing.
‘At this point we do not have more information, but will share more when it becomes available,’ her synagogue said.
‘May her memory be a blessing.’
Woll was named in the Detroit Jewish News’ ’36 under 36′ list in 2017, which described her as a ‘social justice and political activist’.
Woll had appeared in Detroit Jewish News ‘ ’36 under 36’ list in 2017, where she was noted as a ‘social justice and political activist’
‘She was instrumental in the founding of the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Detroit — a grassroots collective of young adults of both faiths who gather in partnership to learn, celebrate and build community together,’ the glowing profile read.
She was praised for helping ‘to build and deepen important relationships’ between local Jewish and Muslim communities, where she hosted ‘revolutionary events, including an Interfaith Iftar dinner welcoming Syrian refugees.’
‘By extending her hand and creating space for connection between Muslims and Jews, she has exemplified the values of healing the world.’
Michigan has one of the largest Muslim populations per capita in the United States, according to the World Population Review.
Investigators have not indicated any link to the conflict in the Middle East, however her murder came just days after US Attorney General Merrick Garland warned that Muslim and Jewish people are at an increased risk of threats and hate crimes due to the situation.
The fatal stabbing has also come just a week after Palestinian-American boy Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, was stabbed to death in Illinois.
In a heart-wrenching funeral speech from her younger sister, Woll was commemorated, in the wake of her shocking death, for being selfless and loving.
The casket of Samantha Woll was loaded into a hearse after the funeral service at the Hebrew Memorial Chapel on October 22
There was ‘literally not anyone more caring or thoughtful than you,’ said her sister Monica.
‘If someone complimented something of yours you would take it off and give it to them. Your soul was beautiful and pure – you never said no, but ‘how can I help?’
‘You loved my kids as your own … you were my older sister, you taught me, protected me, loved me with all your heart,’ she said.
‘You so deeply wanted peace for this world. You fought for everyone, regardless of who they were, or were they came from. Your last text message was to a friend – just a heart, to cheer them up.
‘Sam I feel like I’m about to wake up from a horrible nightmare, and you will be hugging me and holding me. This was not supposed to happen.’