One of the most celebrated golfers in the history of the Iowa State women’s golf program was found dead at an Ames, Iowa, golf course on Monday with police suspecting foul play.
Celia Barquin Arozamena, a 22-year-old from Spain who had finished her senior season in the spring by winning the Big 12 individual title, was taking classes to complete her civil engineering degree this fall and preparing for Stage II of LPGA Q school. On Monday, her body was discovered at Coldwater Links Golf Course after officials were concerned with seeing a golf bag with no one near it on the course. Barquin Arozamena was eventually found some distance away in a pond where her belongings were also found.
After following up leads and asking the community earlier in the day for any clues it might have, Ames police arrested and charged Collin Daniel Richards, 22, late Monday night with first-degree murder.
“We are all devastated,” Iowa State women’s golf coach Christie Martens said in a school release. “Celia was a beautiful person who was loved by all her teammates and friends. She loved Iowa State and was an outstanding representative for our school. We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life.”
Martens’ team had been playing in a college tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., but left on Tuesday to return to campus to be with friends and family.
At the completion of her career at Iowa State, Barquin Arozamena had become the school’s all-time leader in stroke average (73.44) and her 16 top-10 finishes tied for second most in Cyclone history. She earned All-Big 12 honors three times and played in NCAA Regionals all four years in school. She was also a three-time first-team academic all-Big 12 selection.
Barquin Arozamena’s accomplishments helped her earn the school’s female athlete of the year award.
This summer, her play on the course continued to shine as she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in June and won the European Ladies Amateur in July, which earned her a spot into next year’s Women’s British Open.
According to police reports, Richards, who is not a student at Iowa State, was living in a tent in a camp on a street across from the golf course. When police approached him on Monday after tracking him down during the day, they saw “several fresh scratches” on his face that appeared to be the result of a fight. He also looked to be concealing a deep cut on his left hand, according to police reports.
The complaint says that Richards told the police he had gone to the home of another man that afternoon. That man, not named in the complaint, told police Richards arrived “covered in blood, sand and water.” Richards bathed at the man’s home and then left with his clothes in a black backpack.
When police found Richards, two pairs of short in his backpack tested positive for the presence of blood, according to the complaint. Police also found a knife they said had been in Richards’ possession.
Richards was ordered jailed Tuesday on a $5 million, cash-only bond. He is scheduled to face a preliminary hearing on Sept. 28.
Story updated, Tuesday at 2:53 p.m.