Spanish golfer Celia Barquín Arozamena has been killed in the United States. According to local police, the 22-year-old from Cantabria was found dead on the Coldwater Links golf course in Ames, a city with a population of 50,000 in the state of Iowa. Police have arrested a male suspect and charged him with first-degree murder. The investigation into the killing remains open and no theories have been ruled out.
Barquín, considered one of Spain’s most promising young golf players, was studying civil engineering at the Anes campus of Iowa State University.
This is a tragic and senseless loss of a talented young woman and an acclaimed student athlete
Iowa State University president Dr Wendy Wintersteen
According to a press release from the Ames police force, Barquín’s body was found on the golf course by officers on Monday at 10.24am local time. Players on the course had alerted authorities to the presence of an abandoned golf bag. When police were called to the scene, they found the Spaniard’s body meters away from the item. The Ames police force believe Barquín was attacked and died in the struggle.
Soon after launching an investigation, police arrested Collin Daniel Richards, 22, on suspicion of first-degree murder. A photo of Richards, who has no known residence, has been circulated by local media. According to reports, Richards has a long criminal record. The online newspaper weareiowa.com stated that the 22-year-old had been accused of intimidation with a dangerous weapon after stealing two energy drinks from a service station in Guthrie in 2015. In September 2017, he was thrown out of his grandparent’s house and reported by his father for storming the home and damaging the property. In July 2018, Richards was arrested for drunkenness.
Barquín was born in Puente San Miguel in Cantabria but went to high school in Madrid. She was set to finish a degree in engineering this semester. The promising young golfer was a member of the Asturian Golf Federation and had won many important competitions. This year, she won the Big 12 Women’s Championship with her university and was the female champion at the European Amateur competition, a tournament that took place in Slovakia. Iowa State University also recently named her Female Athlete of the Year.
In 2011, Barquín was one of the winners of the EL PAÍS student competition El País de los Estudiantes, taking home a prize for an interview she did with Spanish golfing star Severiano Ballesteros. In 2015, students from her former school also interviewed her for the same competition.
Iowa State University has said it is mourning the loss of the player. In a press release, the university director of athletics, Jamie Pollard said: “Celia had an infectious smile, a bubbly personality and anyone fortunate enough to know her was blessed.”
Police believe Barquín was attacked and died in the struggle
“Our Cyclone family [the university golf club] mourns the tragic loss of Celia, a spectacular student-athlete and ISU ambassador,” he added.
Dr Wendy Wintersteen, the president of the university, also lamented the death: “This is a tragic and senseless loss of a talented young woman and an acclaimed student athlete,” she said.
In Spain, Alejandro Blanco, the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, shared his condolences on Twitter. “We are profoundly shocked by the tragedy in the United States. All our support and solidarity is with the family of Celia Barquín and the Spanish golfing world at this difficult moment.”
English version by Melissa Kitson.