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Funeral is set for a slain Detroit synagogue president as police continue to investigate a motive

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Funeral services were set Sunday for a Detroit synagogue president found fatally stabbed at her home as authorities investigated a motive and asked the public not to draw quick conclusions.

Samantha Woll, who led the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue and was a former aide to Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin and campaign staffer for Attorney General Dana Nessel, was remembered as a community leader who worked to build bridges.

"Sam was as kind a person as I've ever known," Nessel said Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter. "She was driven by her sincere love of her community, state and country. Sam truly used her faith and activism to create a better place for everyone."

Funeral services were to take place Sunday afternoon in suburban Detroit.

Detroit Police Chief James E. White said the killing has left many unanswered questions, and he asked the public to be patient as investigators examine all available evidence. In a statement late Saturday, he said the department had "mobilized many of its resources and has been leveraging every law enforcement and community resource it has to help further the investigation."

Police did not have an update Sunday morning.

Authorities said Woll's body was found at her home Saturday morning after someone called officers to alert them of a person lying on the ground unresponsive.

"While at the scene, police officers observed a trail of blood leading officers to the victim's residence, which is where the crime is believed to have occurred," Cpl. Dan Donakowski said.

Woll, 40, had led the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue since 2022.

Religious groups in the Detroit area praised her interfaith work.

The Michigan chapter of Council on American Islamic Relations called her death a "tragic loss," noting interfaith work with Woll's congregation. That included a prayer vigil for the victims of the deadly 2018 attack on a Pennsylvania synagogue.

"We are troubled by the horrific murder of Samantha Woll, a beloved leader within her faith community in Metro Detroit," said Dawud Walid, the Muslim advocacy group's executive director, in a Saturday statement.

Slotkin also commented on X, saying Saturday that she was heartbroken by Woll's death.

"In politics and in the Jewish community, she dedicated her short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in the face of darkness," Slotkin said.

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