The Slatest

Champion Iowa State Golfer Found Murdered on Golf Course

A smiling Celia Barquin Arozamena in a red shirt
Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University Athletics

An Iowa State University golfer, who in 2018 won the Big 12 conference title, was found dead Monday on a golf course near the university. A 22-year-old man was charged with her murder, accused of what police described as a random act of violence.

Celia Barquin Arozamena, originally from Spain, had this summer been named Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year. The 22-year-old had apparently been playing a round of golf at a course in Ames, Iowa, where her body was later found showing signs of an assault and struggle.

Police reported that Collin Daniel Richards, who had a history of violent crime, was suspected of murdering Barquin Arozamena in an apparent act of random violence. An acquaintance of Richards’ told police the subject had recently expressed “an urge to rape and kill a woman,” according to the Des Moines Register. In recent years, he was found guilty of intimidation with a dangerous weapon related to a convenience store shoplifting incident; first-degree theft after he stole a pickup truck; and domestic assault when he put a woman he was arguing with in a headlock and dragged her outside, cutting off her airway.

After golfers on Monday found a golf bag with no owner, police were called, and officers found Barquin Arozamena’s body nearby. They used dogs to track the scent to a temporary camp where Richards had been living. There, they found Richards with “several fresh scratches” on his face and a deep cut in his hand, according to the Associated Press. Barquin Arozamena was found with “several stab wounds” around her head, neck, and torso, police said.

Another acquaintance told police that Richards showed up at his home, “disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water,” according to the AP. He bathed and changed there, and authorities later found two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that he allegedly handed off to two people who planned to drive Richards out of town after the killing.

Barquin Arozamena had completed her college athletics career at the end of the 2017–18 school year, but she remained at Iowa State to finish her civil engineering degree. She had had a remarkable college career. According to the AP, she was only the second women’s golfer at the school to medal at a conference tournament, and the third to compete in the U.S. Women’s Open Championship. She was also only the second athlete in the school’s history to be all-conference for three years.