A news conference and memorial honoring former Arkansas state senator Linda Collins offered no new details on the case and asked those with any relevant information to contact authorities.
Collins formerly served in the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas Senate, before losing re-election in 2018 to a GOP primary challenger. She was found dead in her home last week. The investigation is still underway.
Several lawmakers as well as former staff spoke about Collins during the memorial on Tuesday, including state senators Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View and Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch.
Many in the audience attending the event wore red, which according to Irvin was Collins’ favorite color. During her speech, Irvin said Collins was a defender of the 2nd Amendment and for the rights of unborn children, and that Collins’ beliefs and issues she fought for stemmed from her faith.
“She was true to her views because of the deep belief in God and in his words. She was a Christian and she wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers to let you know about what his words said about that issue,” Irvin said.
Stubblefield talked about meeting Collins when they were each first elected to the Arkansas Legislature and while Collins was a Democrat and he a Republican, they found common ground in their upbringings.
“She’s a whole lot more country than I ever imagined and after that we became very, very close friends. And I don’t know of one issue that came before us that Linda and I did not agree on,” Stubblefield said.
Collins later switched to the Republican Party. Erin Hogan, a former aide, spoke on her professional and personal relationship with Collins.
“She was the same person behind closed doors that she was outside. She was a true conservative, a patriot, a stateswoman and my very, very dear friend,” Hogan said.
Ken Yang who once worked on Collins’ campaign, spoke about his memories of Collins and also distributed a statement from Collins’ father and her two children. In the statement, the family said they “are surprised, upset, angered and saddened by this event and are at loss for words in describing the feelings and emotions we are currently going through.” As far as the investigation into Collins’ death goes, the family said they are “confident that the Randolph County Sheriff's Department and the Arkansas State Police are using all resources available to find a resolution to this investigation.”
The memorial for Collins is set for Friday in Pocahontas from 4-8 p.m. The funeral will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, though the burial will be private.