A former Arkansas state Senator was found dead in her home on Tuesday of a gunshot wound, prompting an investigation into her death by the Randolph County Sheriff's Department and Arkansas State Police.
Authorities have remained mum on the details about 57-year-old Linda Collins-Smith's death, but her former press secretary Ken Yang told KATV that authorities were treating her death as a possible murder. Yang told the station that neighbors reportedly heard gunshots a day or two before Collins-Smith's body was discovered, wrapped in some sort of blanket. By the time authorities found Collins-Smith's body, it had begun to decompose, making it difficult to identify her, according to an Ark Times report.
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," the Arkansas GOP wrote.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas also tweeted their condolences for the former state Senator's death.
"To so many of us, Senator Linda Collins-Smith was more than just a colleague. She was a friend and warm person," the tweet read. "We are stunned and saddened to hear of her death. Please join us in prayer as we remember her family and her loved ones. #arpx”
Collins-Smith served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2010 to 2012 while representing Randolph and Sharp counties. She switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party during her first term in the Arkansas House in 2011. She went on to serve in the Arkansas state Senate in 2014 until she was defeated in a primary last year.