20th January 2022
Celia Barquin
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US man charged with murder of Spanish golfer

A homeless man who allegedly wanted to ‘rape and kill women’ has been charged with murder for stabbing to death champion Spanish college golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena, police in the US state of Iowa said Tuesday.

The 22-year-old Iowa State University student’s body was discovered Monday morning by staff at Goldwater Golf Links in the city of Ames.

Celia Barquin
Celia Barquin (Photo from European Golf Association)

‘Coldwater staff alerted officers to a body found in the water next to the number nine tee box,’ Ames police commander Geoff Huff told a news conference Tuesday.

‘She had been stabbed in the upper torso, head and neck,’ Huff said, adding that the attack had happened in ‘broad daylight’, sometime between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.

Police identified Colin Daniel Richards, 22, as their lone suspect and charged him with first-degree murder. A judge Tuesday ordered him held in jail on $5m bond.

Richards was considered homeless and had been living in nearby woods, according to police.

Another homeless man told police Richards had ‘made statements about an urge to rape and kill women’, Huff said.

Police found bloody clothes belonging to Richards, but DNA test results had not been returned yet, Huff said.

‘We are all devastated’

Barquin Arozamena hailed from Puente San Miguel in Spain, and this year was named Iowa State University’s female athlete of the year, having claimed a major conference championship victory.

She had finished her university golf career, which ran from 2015 to 2018, and was wrapping up her studies for a civil engineering degree.

The university’s women’s golf team withdrew from a competition in Michigan to return home to grieve her death.

‘Celia had an infectious smile, a bubbly personality and anyone fortunate enough to know her was blessed,’ Jamie Pollard, the Iowa State Director of Athletics, said in a statement.

‘Our Cyclone family mourns the tragic loss of Celia, a spectacular student-athlete and ISU ambassador.’

Barquin Arozamena was the school’s career leader in stroke average (73.44) and was the third woman golfer from Iowa State to compete in the US Women’s Open Championship.

‘We are all devastated,’ said the university’s head women’s golf coach, Christie Martens. ‘Celia was a beautiful person who was loved by all her teammates and friends.’

‘We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life.’

In August, Barquin Arozamena had advanced to Stage II of the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.

Several professional and collegiate sports organisations put out statements of condolence on Tuesday.

‘The LPGA is deeply saddened to learn the terrible news about Celia Barquin Arozamena,’ the organisation said on Twitter.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and the entire Iowa State community as they mourn her tragic passing.’

Richards will next appear in court for a preliminary hearing on 28 September.

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