Suspect charged with murder of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll

Detroit police car in front of Comerica Park

Prosecutors in Detroit say that a man being held in connection with the fatal stabbing of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll, and has been charged with her murder. The suspect, Michael Jackson-Bolanos, 28, of Detroit, was taken into custody Sunday as part of the investigation into Woll’s death outside her home in October. Jackson-Bolanos has pleaded not guilty, and was returned to jail without bond.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy shared that there are “no facts to suggest” that the suspect knew Woll, or that her killing was motivated by antisemitism, adding at a news conference: ‘there’s not a shred of evidence to suggest this was a hate crime.’  The suspect faces additional charges of breaking and entering without permission and lying to a peace officer.  Detroit Police Chief James White said the suspects was being investigated for larcenies in the area of Woll’s home, but had been released, adding that ‘once he was released, we kept an eye on him until we had enough to ultimately make an arrest.’

Woll had served as board president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in Detroit and worked in Democratic politics in Michigan. Her family thanked Detroit police’s homicide task force through their attorney, saying: “through their dedication and tireless efforts we firmly believe that they have successfully solved this senseless crime. We cannot thank them enough.”

The 40-year-old Woll was a high-profile member of the city’s Jewish community and her slaying came amid heightened tensions and growing antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents in the U.S. following the conflict in the Gaza Strip, however investigators reiterate there was no information suggesting her death was a hate crime.

Editorial credit: Jay Fog /

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