Today's Paper Latest stories Obits Traffic Wally Hall Newsletters Weather Puzzles + games
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption In this Sept. 7, 2017, photo provided by Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena poses for a photo. - Photo by Luke Lu/Iowa State University via AP

AMES, Iowa — A star collegiate golfer from Spain was attacked and killed by a homeless stranger while she was playing a round alone near her university campus in Iowa, police said Tuesday.

Celia Barquin Arozamena, who was working toward joining the pro tour while finishing her degree at Iowa State University, was stabbed by the assailant Monday morning and left dead in a pond on the golf course, police said. Her body was found after fellow players saw her abandoned golf bag.

Collin Daniel Richards, a 22-year-old with a history of violence and drug use, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Investigators said Richards had recently told an acquaintance he had "an urge to rape and kill a woman" and that he was living in a homeless encampment near the golf course in Ames, about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

Police said they recovered a knife and bloody clothing linked to Richards, who had completed a prison sentence in June and had previous convictions for burglary and harassment.

The slaying shocked the normally quiet college town, where Barquin was remembered as one of Iowa State's most accomplished golfers, a friendly teammate and a bright engineering student. This year, she won an amateur tournament in Europe and competed in the U.S. Women's Open Championship. Barquin, 22, was also the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the year.

"It's rare, obviously. It's still very troubling for something like this to happen in broad daylight in a community that is as safe as Ames is," Ames police Cmdr. Geoff Huff said during a news conference Tuesday. Huff said Barquin had no known previous relationship with Richards.

It is the second fatal stabbing of a female college student in Iowa in recent months. An immigrant from Mexico is charged in the July 18 kidnapping and stabbing of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished while out for a run in the small town of Brooklyn.

Police were called to Coldwater Golf Links in Ames around 10:20 a.m. Monday to investigate a possible missing female player after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it. Officers found Barquin's body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday against Richards.

A police dog tracked Barquin's scent to a homeless encampment along a creek near the golf course where Richards had been living in a tent, the complaint said. Officers found Richards with several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting and a deep laceration in his left hand that he tried to conceal, it said.

"What did he do to her?" an acquaintance of Richards allegedly asked officers who were searching the area Monday.

That man told investigators Richards had said in recent days that he had "an urge to rape and kill a woman" while they were walking near the course, the complaint said. A second acquaintance told police that Richards arrived at his nearby home Monday appearing "disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water." He bathed and left with his clothes in a backpack.

Investigators later recovered two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that Richards allegedly gave to two other people after the slaying, the complaint said. Those two individuals were driving Richards out of town after the slaying, but he asked them to drop him off near the camp so he could get his tent.

Huff said no one else had been charged in the case, but that the investigation was ongoing.

Professional golfer Sergio Garcia, a native of Spain and one of Barquin's favorites, tweeted that he was heartbroken by the news, saying he'd had the pleasure of meeting Barquin and calling her a "special person."

A judge ordered Richards jailed on a $5 million, cash-only bond during a brief initial court appearance Tuesday.

Richards, who faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted, reported in a financial affidavit that he has no job. Paul Rounds, a public defender assigned to represent him, filed paperwork asserting that his client didn't wish to speak to investigators. Rounds declined comment to The Associated Press.

Barquin, a native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-18, according to the university.

Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was "deeply saddened" by Barquin's death.

Barquin was one of the most accomplished players in the university's golf history. In April, she became the second women's golfer at Iowa State to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.

Barquin, who was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek, ended her collegiate career with a fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and earned All-Big 12 Team honors for the third time — the second player in Iowa State's history to do so. She was the third Iowa State women's golfer to compete in the U.S. Women's Open Championship.

Her former team announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Mich., to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss. Head women's golf coach Christie Martens said Barquin was a well-loved "outstanding representative of our school."

"We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life," Martens said.

Richards left prison in June after serving seven months for violating the terms of his probation, following convictions for burglary, theft, criminal mischief and harassment, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections. Court records show he was arrested in Ames weeks later after he was found passed out near a liquor store, telling police that he took antidepressants before drinking alcohol.

Court records show that since 2014, Richards had also been charged with abusing a former girlfriend, stealing a pickup truck after wrecking his own vehicle, using a baseball bat to smash a car window and burglarizing a gas station. In one case, the Iowa State Patrol seized a long knife from him during a traffic stop. In another, he threatened to return to a convenience store to shoot clerks after they caught him shoplifting.

Sponsor Content

Comments

You must be signed in to post comments
  • condoleezza
    September 18, 2018 at 1:26 p.m.

    Non-immigrant kills foreigner. Hmm. wonder why this is not a major headline? Tragic story, though.

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    September 18, 2018 at 1:33 p.m.

    condoleezza, think maybe because it did not happen in this state ? so sorry for the young girl and her family. He must of surprised her without her driver in her hands. poor child. what horror to die alone so far from home.

  • PopMom
    September 18, 2018 at 2:39 p.m.

    OBoxer,

    Condoleeza is remarking on the irony of Trump making a big deal of the fact that another young woman was recently killed in Iowa by an immigrant. Of course, this woman was killed by a white man. Both tragedies, but Trump talks as if only immigrants kill crimes when it fact they kill at a lower rate than American citizens.

  • LRDawg
    September 18, 2018 at 4:01 p.m.

    White American man, kills LEGAL immigrant
    Great title for this story

  • mrcharles
    September 18, 2018 at 4:41 p.m.

    I fail to see how this is part of any great plan that is explained as just a mystery we dont understand.

    popmom, again with facts , you know the reich wing does not like them there facts as fox tells them the word as if from high.

  • Nodmcm
    September 18, 2018 at 4:42 p.m.

    Our U. S. Constitution prohibits the use of exile to punish criminals, so we must keep this young man in our prisons, if he is convicted of murder. As we think about the issue of immigrants, we need to remember we spend a fortune keeping native-born Americans in prisons all over the land. America has more people in prisons per capita than any other nation, including hated Iran and North Korea. We may ultimately need immigrants to help us pay taxes to keep all these people in prisons across America.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT