Authorities in Arkansas say a former state senator is dead and an ex-staffer is in custody on suspicion of killing her.
State police say 57-year-old Linda Collins-Smith’s partially decomposed remains were discovered in her Pocahontas residence earlier this month, as reported by Fox News.
Though additional details about a motive or cause of death were not immediately available, 48-year-old Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell — a former communications director for the ex-senator — has been arrested on pending criminal charges. It was not clear from initial reports whether police are looking for any other suspects.
Collins-Smith is survived by her father and two adult children, who issued a statement in the wake of the arrest.
“We are sickened and upset that someone so close to Linda, would be involved in such a terrible, heartless crime,” the statement read. “The family is very confident that the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department and the Arkansas State Police will continue to work diligently to bring justice to this case.”
According to the Arkansas Times, witnesses reported hearing gunshots in the area about two days before the victim’s body was discovered. Local social media reports indicated law enforcement officers from multiple agencies as well as a coroner were at the residence at the time of the search.
[Feature Photo: Linda Collins-Smith via AP/Danny Johnston, File]