LINDA COLLINS-SMITH

The State Police said today that the state medical examiner had confirmed, as expected, that the woman found dead Monday at a home near Pocahontas was former Republican Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, 57.

The State Police release in full:

The Arkansas State Police has received confirmation this morning from the state medical examiner that the remains discovered at a homicide scene in Randolph County late Tuesday (June 4, 2019) are those of former state senator, Linda Collins-Smith.
Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division along with deputies of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department are continuing their work related to the case.
At this juncture in the investigation, the Arkansas State Police does not anticipate any further statements related to the case until an arrest may occur.

Note that the release provides no information about cause of death. Various unnamed officials have told reporters she was shot, but no one has been quoted by name to that effect. No suspects have been identified to date. Identification was delayed because she apparently had been dead and left outside for several days, leading to decomposition of the body. Dental records and fingerprints were checked in the identification process.

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The state of the body also could complicate determining cause of death, which is being investigated as a homicide. That is, she died from an outside force. The body was found wrapped in some type of covering. Evidence of the crime also was reportedly found inside her home, near Pocahontas on Highway 90. She had owned her home with her ex-husband, retired Circuit Judge Philip Smith, but it had been awarded to her in a property settlement in their October divorce. She was contesting that property division before the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Again here’s the statement from Prosecutor Henry Boyce along with a court order sealing all documents related to the investigation. It is not a “gag order,” as several have described it, because it makes no order relative to speech by involved parties. As a practical matter, however, it will give the sheriff and others leeway to cite it in releasing few details about the investigation. Yesterday, for example, Sheriff Kevin Bell read from Boyce’s statement and took no questions.

The order currently requires sealing of any affidavits or warrants issued in an arrest, but a judge could lift that order on the occasion of an arrest, if one occurs.