An Arkansas woman was arrested in connection to the death of former state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, who was found dead outside her home last week. Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, was taken into custody Friday, Arkansas State Police said. Criminal charges are pending, NBC News reports.
Ken Yang, Collins-Smith’s former press secretary, told NBC News that O’Donnell and Collins-Smith were friends and worked together last year. "We are sickened and upset that someone so close to Linda, would be involved in such a terrible, heartless crime. 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," the ex-senator's family said in a statement.
State police and the sheriff's office were called to Collins-Smith's home in the city of Pocahontas around 5:45 p.m. June 4 after human remains, later identified as those of the former state senator, were found outside. A cause of death has not been revealed.
Collins-Smith, 57, was elected to the Arkansas House as a Democrat in 2010, and shortly after being elected, switched to the Republican party. She served one term in the House, and in 2014 was elected to the state Senate, where she served two terms. She lost her re-election bid in 2018.