Former Arkansas state senator found shot to death: report

Former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R) was reportedly found dead from a gunshot wound in her home this week.

Collins-Smith, 57, was reportedly found in her Pocahontas, Ark., home with a gunshot wound, Ken Yang, her former press secretary, told KATV.

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Yang told KATV that her neighbors reportedly heard gunshots a day or two before officials found her body.

It wasn’t immediately clear how long Collins-Smith had been dead when her body was found, but she was said to be wrapped in some sort of blanket and her body had begun to decompose, Ark Times reported.

The incident is being investigating as a murder, and the state medical examiner may formally identify the body as early as Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Law enforcement officials were called to the scene on Tuesday afternoon and reported that individuals had found human remains outside the house, Arkansas State Police said in a written statement to The Hill.

Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell said authorities do not believe the public is in danger, according to Region 8 News. The sheriff’s department is leading the investigation with assistance from Arkansas State Police.

The Arkansas GOP acknowledged Collins-Smith’s death on Twitter, saying she “was a passionate voice for her people and a close member of our Republican family.”

Collins-Smith represented District 19 in the Arkansas state Senate but lost her reelection bid in 2018. Before that, she served in the state House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013.

When she was first elected to the House, Collins-Smith identified as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party during her first term.

Updated 11:08 a.m.