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POCAHONTAS, Ark. – A female suspect was taken into custody Friday night in the murder investigation of former State Senator Linda Collins.
Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, of Pochaontas, was arrested Friday night, Arkansas State Police confirmed. She was taken into custody on Highway 62 West. The location of the arrest is of significance since the visitation for Collins was happening at the same time on Highway 62 West at Sutton Freewill Baptist Church, according to Collins’ obituary.
UPDATE: 9:00 PM: O’Donnell and her boyfriend were stopped on the way to the visitation, a member of his family told me. They also say he was taken to the sheriff’s department and questioned, his vehicle impounded, and his residence searched. But, he has not been arrested, according to a family source close to tonight’s events.
UPDATE 10:00 PM: The boyfriend is no longer at the sheriff’s department, a family source said, signifying that he is not under arrest.
Arkansas State Police confirmed the news and released the woman’s name:
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division and Deputies of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, in coordination with the Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, have arrested one person in connection with the homicide of former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins-Smith.
Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, of Pocahontas is currently in custody. Criminal charges are pending.
The investigation is presently at a critical juncture and no further information will be released at this hour until authorities are confident it will not comprise the integrity of the criminal case.
O’Donnell’s Facebook profile shows her in several photos with Collins. Her most recent photo was updated June 10, showing the above (featured) photo of herself and Collins. However, O’Donnell’s last public update before that was on May 28 – the same day Collins stopped updating her social media accounts.
Collins was discovered dead on June 4 at her home and appeared to have been that way for several days.
Correction: An earlier version of the story said no updates were posted except for one following May 28. Some updates have been posted since May 28 but were not visible to the public. We have corrected this and regret the error.