Former state senator Linda Collins-Smith from Arkansas was found dead from a gunshot wound.
Authorities are ruling her death a homicide. She was 57 years old.
Recently, Linda Collins-Smith’s body was found Tuesday night inside her home in Pocahontas, Arkansas about 145 miles northeast of Little Rock. Deputies from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call when they had to turn over the case to the Arkansas State Police for homicide investigation.
Sheriff Kevin Bell told reporters Wednesday, “The condition of the body prevented any immediate positive identification. The body has been sent for an autopsy to determine the positive identification and cause of death.” The Sheriff also stated the public is not in any form of danger.
Circuit Judge Harold Erwin issued a gag order which would not allow authorities to confirm the identification of the body until the Coroner released the report.
Early Thursday morning an email was sent to ABC News from Bill Sadler who is a spokesman for the Arkansas State Police which stated, “Arkansas State Police has not, as of this hour, issued a statement that positively identifies a homicide victim in this case.”
Later that morning, Collins-Smith’s former press secretary Ken Yang told KATV that Collins-Smith was found inside her home shot to death, and her body was wrapped up in a blanket. A day or two before Collins-Smith’s body was found, neighbors reported they had heard guns going off a day or two before her body was found by authorities.
Last year, the former state senator ran for reelection but lost in the Republican primary. Yang told KATV, “She was someone who truly cared about Arkansas, truly cared about her district. It was shocking. This was not just a political relationship. This was a close personal friendship that I had with Linda.”
Politicians of all parties were shocked and upset when they found out the news yesterday. Some found out as early as Wednesday afternoon. They expressed their disappointments through Twitter as they found out the horrible tragedy which took place.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson posted, “I’m both stunned and saddened by the death of former State Senator Linda Collins-Smith. She was a good person who served in the public arena with passion and conviction. The First Lady and I extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time.”
Lt. Governor Tim Griffin stated in his post, “I am in shock over the news of Sen. Linda Collins-Smith’s death. I am heartbroken for her family & friends as they grieve, & my thoughts & prayers are w/ them during this tragic time. Linda was a friend who had a deep faith in God & passion for her state & nation. She is missed.”
The Republican Party posted, “Today, we learned of the untimely death of former Senator Linda Collins Smith. She was a passionate voice for her people and a close member of our Republican family. We are praying for her loved ones during this difficult time.”
Likewise, the Democrats expressed their condolences, “To so many of us, Senator Linda Collins-Smith was more than just a colleague. She was a friend and a warm person. We are stunned and saddened to hear of her death. Please join us in prayer as we remember her family and her loved ones.”
When Collins-Smith ran in the Republican primaries, she lost to James Sturch in May. She lost by less than 600 votes and served only one term in the Arkansas House of Representatives.
Collins-Smith served from 2011 to 2013 and ran as a Democrat but switched sides to Republican shortly after she was elected as the State Senator. She was well known as one of the most conservative senators of the state of Arkansas.
Authorities did confirm publicly until Thursday that the body found was that of former Senator Linda Collins-Smith. The cause of death has still not been released as of this time, but the investigation is still ongoing due to no suspects, arrest, or leads have been found.
Police have not released any information on the time of death, but they have said her Twitter account was disabled May 27 after her last known post. Ken Yang stated the family request their privacy and declined to comment when reached out to on Thursday.
Another former state senator, Johnathan Nicholas, 53 from Oklahoma was shot and killed inside his home on Thursday. It is also unclear at this time if there are any connections.