Brutal new details emerge in slain golfer’s case, alleged killer pleads not guilty

October 15, 2018
Celia Barquin

Search warrants have revealed further details in the murder of star amateur golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena as the case heads toward trial. Barquin, 22, was a standout golfer and strong student at Iowa State University. Investigators say she was attacked at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa, near campus. Her body was found on Sept. 17 in a pond adjacent the 9th hole, riddled with stab wounds.

The court appearance

Collin Richards, the 22-year-old man accused of murdering Barquin, entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ in court on Monday. As a result, a judge has scheduled a trial to begin Jan. 15. Richards, who spoke briefly during his appearance to confirm certain information, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Paul Rounds, who is among Richards’ public defenders, hopes the public will reserve its judgment about his client until the trial, according to the Des Moines Register.

Richards’ pretrial conference is scheduled for December 17. He is currently being held at the Story County Jail on a $5 million cash-only bond.

Three knives found

In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 17 murder, Richards allegedly showered at the home of Christopher Johnston, whose home is nearby. Johnston spoke with officers and said Richards had arrived unkempt and covered in blood. He bathed, but refused Johnston’s offer to wash his clothes before departing with bloody clothes in a backpack.

Several days later, on Sept. 20, officers were called to the scene when a garage fire broke out at Johnston’s home. Search warrant documents available here reveal that investigators recovered two kitchen knives during their fire response that are believed to be connected to the murder.

An additional knife was found at a campsite where Richards was believed to be staying.

Search warrants reveal “gruesome” stab wounds

Search warrants detailed more of what investigators found following Arozamena’s death. The graphic nature of her stab wounds was described below:

“The crime scene evidence indicated the victim sustained three cuts to the center of her chest above the breast area, a laceration at the hairline of the back of the head, a laceration between her shoulder blades, and a laceration on the left calf oft he victim’s leg,” reads one application. “The DCI Crime Scene team processed the crime scene and also located blood on the golf course fairway near the victim’s location.”

The Des Moines Register, which reviewed the documents, reported that an autopsy found her body had two different serration marks. According to the report, those wounds could have come from a knife with a blade four inches or longer. One or more of the knives found by officers matches that description.

On the day of the murder, Richards had a fresh cut on his hand that he tried to conceal from officers. Investigators say that cut appeared consistent with the serration on Barquin Arozamena’s wounds.

Additional information sought

Investigators are seeking access to Richards’ Facebook page and Facebook messenger account, which they believe could hold more details regarding his involvement in the murder. He did not appear to have a cell phone.

Additional warrants show requests for a red shirt and other articles of Iowa St. clothing that Barquin Arozamena may have been wearing. She was discovered in a sports bra and golf skirt, according to authorities. Investigators also filed warrants for Richards’ medical records.

Agents have recovered and seized several articles of clothing from Richards’ campsite as well as two tents, two blankets and a backpack.

Barquin, a civil engineering student at the time of her death, was a native of Puente San Miguel, Spain. Tributes have poured in from across the world citing her warm personality and determination to achieve her dreams. She was among the most accomplished golfers in ISU history.