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story.lead_photo.caption Ken Yang speaks in front of a group of Arkansas lawmakers during a remembrance ceremony at the state Capitol on Tuesday. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

The family of former state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith of Pocahontas is "surprised, upset, angered and saddened” by her death and "at a loss for words in describing the feelings and emotions that we are currently going through,” a spokesman for the family said Tuesday.

Collins-Smith was found dead outside her home last week, and law enforcement agencies are investigating the case as a homicide.

During a remembrance ceremony at the state Capitol on Tuesday, former Collins-Smith spokesman Ken Yang read a statement that he said is is from her father, Benny Collins; son Butch Smith; and daughter Tate Williams.

“We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and prayers during this difficult time,” the family said in the statement, which also noted they are "unable to speak about the ongoing investigation.”

The family said that it’s confident that the Randolph sheriff's office and Arkansas State Police are using all resources available to investigate what happened and to “put our hearts and minds at ease."

A crowd gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday for a remembrance ceremony for former state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith.
A crowd gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday for a remembrance ceremony for former state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith.

“Linda would want all of us to be strong for her during this trying time,” the statement said. “Let us honor her memory, of all the wonderful things she said and did for so many people, regardless of political views or otherwise.”

The family urged people who believe that they have pertinent information to contact authorities.

Collins-Smith served in the House from 2011 through 2013 and the Senate from 2015-2019.

She was elected as a Democrat to the House in November of 2010 and switched parties to become a Republican in August of 2011.

Read Wednesday's Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Archived Comments

  • RTT
    June 11, 2019 at 12:43 p.m.

    So sad. May God bless Senator Linda & her family, prayers to all. She will be missed.

  • Open_Carry_FTW
    June 11, 2019 at 1:10 p.m.

    I really hate how the news keeps saying "former senator" - She was only a former senator since she died. I really believe this has to do with the other Senator right now who's the Governor's nephew, who's facing fraud and money laundering charges. The only thing about a grand jury she was going to appear in front of was for that case - don't let all the fake posts fool you about CPS and DHS. They're corrupt indeed, but I believe that's a red herring, as none of it is real and it's nearly all fabricated information/rumors that people keep spreading.. Also look into her ex husband Phil Smith who was an AR circuit judge.. He was made to stop judicial activity because he was caught using state/gov't computers to watch porn after-hours.

  • RP57
    June 11, 2019 at 1:33 p.m.

    Actually they're referring to her as a former Senator because she lost in the primaries last year and was not currently serving.

  • RBBrittain
    June 11, 2019 at 1:33 p.m.

    @Open_Carry_FTW: She was a "former senator" BEFORE her death because she lost her re-election race in the 2018 GOP primary; she did NOT serve in the 2019 legislature. (That's why she wasn't automatically entitled to have the state flag fly at half-mast, as a legislator who dies in office is.) You're right that all the QAnon-fueled stories tied to DHS and the Clintons are false, though I don't know if she was going before a grand jury in the Jeremy Hutchinson investigation. (I was there when he basically killed LCS' 2017 "bathroom bill" in Senate Judiciary as one of the many transgender Arkansans opposed to it, so I know firsthand they were political enemies even within the GOP.) In real life, Philip Smith has been the prime suspect since day one.

  • RBBrittain
    June 11, 2019 at 1:46 p.m.

    I should add that grand juries in Arkansas are almost exclusively for Federal criminal matters, since the U.S. Constitution requires grand jury indictments for virtually all Federal criminal charges. The Arkansas Constitution permits prosecuting attorneys to bring state charges; though grand jury indictments are still available at state level to remove the final decision to prosecute from prosecutors, it has been decades since that has happened in most counties. (The last local grand jury empaneled in Pulaski County was required by law at the time because it had been too long since the last one; IIRC it investigated county government, also as required by law, then adjourned with no indictments.)

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    June 11, 2019 at 2:19 p.m.

    so sad for the family I hope they catch the SOB that killed the senator.

  • RBBrittain
    June 11, 2019 at 6:05 p.m.

    Max's comment has been flagged. The Clintons aren't any more "killers" than the Hutchinsons; the motivations that make Philip Smith the prime suspect are financial, NOT political. As an opponent of her "bathroom bill" I would have more of a political motivation than any of them (even her ex), though as I've said here before I believe she got her just deserts when she lost and I wouldn't even dream of physically harming her. (I'll tell the State Police the same thing if they knock on my door.)

  • barttaylor55aolcom
    June 11, 2019 at 8:16 p.m.

    Just Arkansas politics! Thank God for Mississippi! It will never be solved. Another John Grissom mystery novel.

  • MaxCady
    June 11, 2019 at 10:06 p.m.

    Awesome!! Thanks, RBB!!

  • Skeptic1
    June 13, 2019 at 8:13 a.m.

    "The family urged people who believe that they have pertinent information to contact authorities." And they know who they are, do the right thing!