Former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins-Smith, 57, a conservative Republican, has been found shot dead. According to Arkansas State Police Collins-Smith’s body was discovered outside her home wrapped in a blanket which had started to decompose in Pocahontas Tuesday and is being investigated as a homicide.
According to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, the body has been sent for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. A gag order was placed on the case by Circuit Judge Harold S. Erwin that prevents major information from being released.
Collins-Smith’s former press secretary Ken Yang confirmed her death. According to NBC News Yang reported that neighbors had heard gunshots a few days before she was found. Yang also stated that he was shocked by the news of Collins-Smith’s passing, that she always posted on social media daily and that her last post was May 27.
Collins-Smith supported guns rights she had introduced and supported bills to increase places where concealed weapons would be allowed. She also introduced Senate Bill 774, the Arkansas Physical Privacy and Safety Act in 2017, in which limit transgender individuals in the use of government facilities that only corresponded to the sex on their birth certificates.
During 2011 to 2013 Collins-Smith served one term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. At the time she had been elected as a Democrat. Eight months into her term she switched political parties and became a Republican. On November 4, 2014, she won the Senate defeating Democrat James McLean.
Tributes have been pouring in for Linda Collins-Smith. Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin stated on Twitter that he was shocked by the news of her passing of his friend and stated, “my thoughts and prayers are with them during this tragic time. Griffin continued to state, “Linda was a friend who had a deep faith in God and passion for her state and nation. She is missed.”
The Arkansas GOP also stated on Twitter, “she was a passionate voice for her people and a close member of our Republican family. The GOP continued to state, “ we are praying for her loved ones during this difficult time.”
Arkansas Senator Jason Rapert stated on Twitter, “she was a friend and passionate advocate. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, I pray whoever is responsible for her death is captured and brought to justice.”
Democratic Party of Arkansas also sent condolences on Twitter and stated, “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.”
Collins-Smith also owned and operated a Days Inn hotel in Pocahontas. She was married to circuit court judge Philip Smith until their divorce in 2018 and they have two children. Smith was a judge for nine years and was an attorney for 22 years.