Relatives of Iowa man charged in golfer’s death ‘devastated’

Collin Daniel Richards makes his initial court appearance after being charged with the murder of Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena on Tuesday Sept. 18 2018 at the Story County Courthouse in Nevada Iowa. (Kelsey Kremer  The Des Moines Register

A golf course in Ames, Iowa, now a crime scene after a champion golfer was found murdered there.

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. Commander Geoff Huff said Richards is homeless and has been living in nearby woods.

Sergio Garcia has led tributes to murdered amateur Spanish golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena.

None of that earned Richards prison time or a felony conviction, in part because prosecutors agreed to plea deals that reduced charges to misdemeanors and judges imposed sentences of probation.

Speaking from her residence near Torrelavega in northern Spain, Arozamena told broadcaster Tele 5 on Wednesday that her daughter had "such bad luck". Police charged a 22-year-old homeless man who had been staying in an encampment near the golf course with first-degree murder in her stabbing death.

It was just a month later Richards found himself in front of judge again for stealing a auto. "And he came across my girl".

Arozamena was going to be on the field at halftime of Saturday's game to be honored as Iowa State's female athlete of the year. Her body was found after fellow players saw her abandoned golf bag.

'Losing one of our student-athletes is like losing a child, ' Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said, choking back tears at a news conference.

Richards was charged with killing Barquin during a random attack while she golfed by herself in broad daylight.

Barquin was a top golfer in Spain as a teenager and came to Iowa State to pursue her career, drawn by its facilities, coaches, and picturesque campus.

"Yes, she was an awesome golfer, yes she was a terrific engineering student, yes she even died a horrific death, but this doesn't capture who she was".

Richards grew up in small towns in western Iowa, and has a history of violence and substance abuse. Ames police said she had been "assaulted". Dogs tracked his scent and found him with fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting and a deep laceration on his left hand. The man, who was not identified, allegedly made a comment to the effect of "What did he do to her?" He said police have had "past encounters" with Richards but that he did not know details, or any information about Richards' criminal record. In one case, the Iowa State Patrol seized a long knife from him during a traffic stop.

Richards once threatened to "shoot up" a convenience store where he was caught shoplifting.

Her former 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.

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