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POCAHONTAS, Ark. – There are a number of connections between the woman arrested Friday evening in a murder investigation and the victim.
Becky O’Donnell was arrested Friday evening on her way to the visitation of Linda Collins, the former state senator who was found murdered at her home on June 4. O’Donnell was stopped on Highway 62 West, the same highway as the visitation, which was at Sutton Free Will Baptist Church. She was riding with her long-time boyfriend, Tim Loggains, of Pocahontas. Then, they saw the police lights.
A family source told NEA Report the vehicle was impounded. Both were taken to the sheriff’s office, with O’Donnell under arrest and Loggains simply being questioned. A search warrant was executed at the residence the couple shares. Electronic devices were searched. Loggains was released. O’Donnell will remain in custody and have her probable cause hearing on Monday, the sheriff told media outlets.
Both O’Donnell and Loggains gave statements to authorities within hours of Collins being found dead, a source tells NEA Report. Loggains also told relatives he had not talked with police since then – until he was stopped on the way to the visitation.
The couple’s history with Collins goes back many years, a source close to Loggains said, with Collins routinely showing up at family gatherings or events.
Loggains also has held power of attorney over Collins for at least a period of time last year. NEA Report verified this in an Emergency Motion filed October 16, 2018 by Collin’s ex-husband, Philip Smith. The motion, filed after the divorce decree, requested Loggains stop using joint bank accounts in both Collins and Smith without Smith’s authorization.
On October 1, 2018, Loggains deposited $52,401.38 into the ex-couple’s joint account. He then wrote a check out of the account for the exact same amount to Bancorp South. It was for a cashiers check. The payee on the cashier’s check was “Linda Collins-Smith,” the same as the remitter.
On October 12, 2018, Loggains attempted to cash the 2016 Federal tax refund checks totaling $428,522.84 and made out to Collins and Smith, jointly. Smith, a former judge, called the bank and requested the deposit be refused without his signature.
The court found that a hearing would be held on November 9, arising out of this motion. It also ordered Collins to deposit the $400,000 into Smith’s trust account with his law firm. From there, the case was ruled in Smith’s favor, as we documented in detail here.
Court records show O’Donnell was a witness for Collins during her divorce. O’Donnell was friends with Collins and worked with her on the campaign trail, said her former communications manager, Ken Yang, who has represented the family since this tragedy began to unfold.
A statement from the family of Linda Collins was issued late Friday:
This evening our family received news that an arrest was made in connection to the ongoing investigation. We are sickened and upset that someone so close to Linda, would be involved in such a terrible, heartless crime. The family is very confident that the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department and the Arkansas State Police will continue to work diligently to bring justice to this case. We would like to thank everyone for the continued prayers and thoughts for our family during this difficult time.
Collins funeral is scheduled for Saturday morning in Pocahontas.
O’Donnell is being held in nearby Lawrence County which has the closest female prisoner unit.