Former Staffer Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell Arrested in Connection With Death of Former State Senator Linda Collins

An ex-campaign staffer for former Arkansas state senator Linda Collins has been arrested, according to Daily Mail. Authorities took Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell into custody in connection with the death of the politician.

Arkansas police said criminal charges were pending against the 48-year-old. They did not say whether they were seeking additional suspects in Collins' death. CNN reported that police were not releasing more information on the arrest in an effort to maintain the integrity of the investigation.

Last week, a judge granted a request from prosecutors to seal documents and statements obtained by police during their investigations

Sen. Collins' death is being investigated as a homicide, according to a statement from police. Information about O'Donnell's attorney was not immediately available.

It's unclear at this time where O'Donnell is being held. A State Police spokesman declined to say which jail she was in. The Randolph County jail was referring all questions related to the case to the sheriff, according to Daily Mail. State Police said they did not know when O'Donnell was due to appear in court.

The politician, who went by Collins-Smith was found dead outside her home in Pocahontas, Arkansas on June 4. CNN reported that she was shot to death.

Collins-Smith was one of two Republican former senators found dead in their homes within a two-day span. The day after Collins-Smith was shot and killed, Jonathan Nichols was found dead inside his Oklahoma home after gunfire was reported. Their deaths appear to be unrelated, according to CNN.

Authorities have not released many more details surrounding Collins-Smith's death. The Arkansas Times reported that she was found wrapped in a blanket at about 7:15 p.m. local on June 4. Sources alleged that her body had begun to decompose by the time it was found, which made identifying her a challenge.

Ken Yang, a former communications director for Collins, said the ex-lawmaker's neighbors heard gunshots one or two days before her body was discovered.

Once active on social media, Collins-Smith's last post on Twitter was shared in May.

Collins-Smith was elected to the Arkansas Senate in 2014. She lost her party's primary in 2018, KARK reported. She was a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party later on.


Following news of her passing, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson sent condolences to her family and friends.

"She was a good person who served in the public arena with passion and conviction," he said at the time. "The first lady and I extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time."