Arkansas authorities arrest woman in killing of former state senator

Arkansas authorities have arrested a woman in connection with the murder of former state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith(R), State Police and Randolph County Sheriff’s deputies announced Friday.

Special agents have taken Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, into custody and criminal charges against her are pending, police said in a statement.

Police said the investigation is currently at a “critical juncture,” and they are not releasing any further information to maintain the case’s integrity.

Collins-Smith, 57, was reportedly foundin her Pocahontas, Ark., home with a gunshot wound on June 4. It wasn’t clear how long she had been dead when her body was found, but she was said to be wrapped in some kind of blanket and her body had begun to decompose.

Collins-Smith served in the state House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. When she was first elected, she identified as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party during her first term.

After that, she represented District 19 in the Arkansas state Senate but lost her reelection bid in 2018.

The former Arkansas legislator was one of two state lawmakers two be found dead within a week. Police found Oklahoma state Sen. Jonathan Nichols (R) fatally shot after responding to reports of gunfire.

*story by The Hill