Here's a look at some of the state's top stories. Each day we will bring you the State News Notebook in an effort to provide the latest information from around Arkansas. We hope you enjoy this new feature at pbcommercial.com. Thank you for reading.
Texas man's body found in trunk of car in Arkansas
MAGNET COVE, Ark. (AP) — Authorities say a Texas man has been found shot to death and his body left in the trunk of his car in Arkansas.
Hot Spring County Sheriff Mike Cash told reporters the man's body was found Saturday afternoon in the car in a wooded area near Magnet Cove, about 40 miles southwest of Little Rock.
Cash said the man appeared to have been shot to death and that a burned cloth was found stuffed in the fuel door with the gas cap removed.
The man's name was not released, but Cash said he was 64-years-old and from the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas.
Texarkana, Arkansas, man charged in girlfriend's death
TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — A Texarkana, Arkansas, man has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his girlfriend.
Miller County prosecutors have charged 57-year-old Tony Earl Taylor with the March death of 35-year-old Crystal Reed. He also faces charges of abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.
Taylor is being held on $750,000 bond and court records do not list an attorney to speak for him.
The Texarkana Gazette reports that police began questioning Taylor after Reed's mother reported her missing.
Police later found Reed's body buried in a heavily wooded area in Ogden.
Arkansas Capitol to close briefly for sewer line repairs
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Sewer line repairs at the Arkansas state Capitol will require the building to be closed for at least a weekend, and perhaps for several weeks.
Officials in Secretary of State Mark Martin's office said that the sewer lines may be original to the more than 100-year-old building and will be re-lined.
Martin spokesman Chris Powell said the problem was discovered during an investigation of sewer lines after drainage was discovered beneath the Capitol cafeteria. House Chief of Staff Roy Ragland told the House Management Committee that if re-lining the inside of the sewer lines fails to stop leaks, the Capitol could be closed for four weeks for replacement.
The Capitol will be closed from 6 p.m. May 19 through May 21 for the repairs.
Body found of Arkansas girl who was swept away during flood
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue promised Sunday to expedite requests for federal assistance after touring flooded northeast Arkansas with the state's governor and three members of its congressional delegation.
Storms that brought flooding and tornadoes to the state are now blamed for nine deaths, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday, following Saturday's discovery of the bodies of an 18-month-old girl in Madison County and the body of a canoeist from Missouri in the Buffalo River in Newton County.
Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Melody Daniel said earlier that the canoeist had been counted among the dead, but later said she had mistaken the man for another canoeist who died in a separate flood-related accident in Saline County.
At a news conference following a helicopter tour that included Hutchinson, Sen. John Boozman and Reps French Hill and Rick Crawford, Perdue said state officials are assessing the damage.
"They will convey to your governor their estimates of that, both from a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) disaster situation as well as an agricultural ... disaster claim," Perdue said.
Hutchinson said a preliminary assessment places damages at $21 million, not including damage to agricultural land.
"FEMA will be coming in Wednesday, starting the damage assessments, and this is good news that they will start early," Hutchinson said.
Crawford called the situation terrible.
"Right now, what we need to do is just get to work and figure out a way to get farmers back in the field and try to make something out of this year. It's going to be tough."
The state on Sunday raised the death toll by two, to nine, following Saturday's discovery of the bodies of 18-month-old Krystal Wiggins and 65-year-old Rick Norber.
Wiggins' body was found about 10 miles from where the vehicle in which she was riding was swept off a bridge near Hindsville, about 130 miles northwest of Little Rock, the Madison County sheriff's Office said in a news release.
The body of the girl's 4-year-old brother, Damien Wiggins, was found earlier this week more than three miles from the bridge.
Authorities have said the children were with their mother on April 29 when the vehicle was swept off the bridge during heavy rain and flooding. The sheriff's office says the mother, who survived, tried to carry the children to safety but they were pulled into a swift current.
The body of Norber, of St. Louis, was found in the Buffalo River after he disappeared while canoeing on the river April 26 when the storms began.