The FBI has intervened in the murder investigation of former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, according to federal agents who detailed what the Republican politician was investigating prior to her grisly murder.
Collins-Smith was gunned down and her body was discovered outside her home about two hours northeast of Little Rock on June 4. She suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
A friend of the beloved Arkansas state senator has been formally charged with the murder. Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, was charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the death of Collins-Smith. O’Donnell, of Pocahontas, was arrested in the death of Collins-Smith.
Documents in the case have reportedly been sealed and police have released few details about the circumstances surrounding the death of Collins-Smith, who was elected to the state senate as a Republican in 2014 but lost a re-election bid last year. The former senator’s body was found in an “advanced state of decomposition” and it took authorities two days to identify the remains using dental records, the paper reports, citing a statement by prosecuting attorney Henry Boyce.
With a murder suspect already in custody, however, federal law enforcement sources revealed Collins-Smith, at the time of her death, was probing child pornography cases linking to a child trafficking syndicate in Arkansas.
“She had developed this information through contacts and people very close to her,” a law enforcement source said. “The plan was to go public with all of it or hand it to law enforcement outside of Arkansas.”
The FBI sources would not say whether the former senator was working with the FBI prior to her death. But federal insiders said the FBI began interviewing witnesses in the case in recent weeks. Also the Secret Service has taken an interest in the case as well, though FBI sources would not elaborate on the Secret Service’s role.