Star Student Golfer Found Dead At Golf Course; Man Charged
AMES, Iowa - A man has been charged in the killing of a champion golfer from Spain, after the Iowa State University student's body was found at a golf course in central Iowa.
Police said in a news release that Celia Barquin Arozamena was found dead Monday morning at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames. Officers determined the 22-year-old woman had also been assaulted.
Collin Daniel Richards, 22, was charged with first-degree murder. CBS affiliate KCCI-TV reports that a conviction on first-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole in Iowa, which does not have the death penalty.
Richards has been ordered jailed on a $5 million cash-only bond. The public defender's office, which has been appointed to represent Richards, says he doesn't have an address or a job.
Police were called to the golf course around 10:20 a.m. Monday after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it. Officers found a body some distance from the bag. Investigators have released no information on how Barquin died or whether she knew Richards. Police said Richards has no known address.
Golfer Harley Thornton told KCCI that he and his three golfing friends met a woman on the course Monday morning – but when they got to the 9th hole, her golf clubs and cell phone were sitting there but she was no where in sight.
"This was very strange and not right," Thornton said. "There is no reason to abandon your clubs in the middle of the fairway.
He called the clubhouse, then called 911. Ames police interviewed Thornton to get a grasp on the timeline.
Barquin was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year. The university said the native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.
She was one of the most accomplished players in Cyclone golf history, the university said. 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 career as a Cyclone 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 became the third Cyclone women's golfer to compete in the U.S. Women's Open Championship, the university said. The team announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss.
Police identified the victim in today’s Ames golf course homicide as Celia Barquin Arozamena. She was a star golfer on the @IowaStateU Cyclones women’s golf team. She was a senior in 2017-18 and was originally from Spain. Read her biography here: https://t.co/4imH3SVR1m @KCCINews pic.twitter.com/dt93pKmuow— Chris Gothner KCCI (@CGothnerKCCI) September 18, 2018
Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was "deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death" of Barquin, describing her as a "dedicated civil engineering student" and an "acclaimed golfer with a bright future."
Head women's golf coach Christie Martens said in a release that Barquin was "loved by all her teammates and friends" and was an "outstanding representative of our school."
"We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life," Martens said.
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