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Watch the Dateline episode "The Hands of a Killer" now

Dennis Murphy reports.

Linda Collins was going through a bit of a rough patch in 2019. She’d been primaried and lost her seat in the Arkansas state senate. She was also going through a divorce. Her two grown children, Butch and Tate, could see the toll it was all taking on their mom, but said Linda picked herself up and dusted herself off, as she always did. She moved back to her hometown of Pocahontas, Arkansas. Linda met a new guy and was looking into lobbying jobs around the country.

And then, after a job hunting trip in Washington, D.C., Linda Collins vanished.

Tate last spoke to her mom on Monday, May 27, 2019. Then there were days of silence. Tate thought it was odd, but she knew her mom was busy, so she didn’t think too much of it at first. But after a few days, Tate asked her brother, Butch, to go check on their mother since he lived in the area. He stopped by and noticed Linda’s car was in the driveway, but there was no answer at the door. He assured his sister that he didn’t see anything out of place at their mother’s house.

But Tate could feel it. Something was off.

And she was right. The next day, her grandfather went by the house with his key, joined later by Butch, where they found a big stain on the kitchen floor. They tried to explain it away as spilled coffee while on the phone with Tate. But when they sent her a video, she knew immediately that the stain had to have been blood.

Not long after that discovery, Butch found his mother’s body under a tarp in front of the garage.

It was clear that Linda had been murdered… But who could have killed her? And why? That would be up to investigators to find out.

For the rest of the story, you can watch our full episode, “The Hands of a Killer,” now.

Family and friends remember Linda as a professional politician, loving mother and fun grandmother.

Remembering Linda Collins

April 8, 202202:02

Plus, hear Senator Gary Stubblefield read a bit of a special tribute to Linda Collins – the resolution passed in the later former state senator’s honor.