The Arkansas State Police said an arrest has been made related to the death of former State Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas.
On Friday night, ASP said the Randolph County Sheriff’s department arrested 48-year-old Rebecca Lynn (Becky) O’Donnell in connection with the death of Collins-Smith.
“Special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division and Deputies of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, in coordination with the Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, have arrested one person in connection with the homicide of former Arkansas Senator Linda Collins-Smith,” the ASP said in a news release.
“Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, of Pocahontas is currently in custody. Criminal charges are pending,” the release further stated. No further information was disclosed in order to protect the integrity of the case, officials said. A judge has issued a gag order in the case.
Collins-Smith was found dead at her home in Pocahontas on June 4 amid mysterious circumstances and yet-to-be released details of how she died. Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday (June 15).
Her family issued a statement through a spokesperson on Friday night regarding the arrest of O’Donnell.
“This evening our family received news that an arrest was made in connection to the ongoing investigation. 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. We would like to thank everyone for the continued prayers and thoughts for our family during this difficult time,” the statement read.
O’Donnell had worked on Collins-Smith campaigns and were friends, according to reports. O’Donnell’s Facebook page has a photo of her posing with Collins-Smith.
UPDATE: On Monday, an Arkansas circuit judge found probable cause to charge O’Donnell with capital murder in the death of former State Senator Linda Collins-Smith, according to our content partner, KAIT Region 8 News. O’Donnell, 48, also faces abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence charges.