MADRID, Sept 19 – Police in the US have charged a man with first-degree murder after the body of a promising young Spanish golf champion was found on a course in Iowa.
Celia Barquín Arozamena, 22, who won the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship in July was from Cantabria, northern Spain, and had been studying civil engineering at Iowa State University.
Barquín’s body was discovered on Monday morning at Coldwater golf links in Ames after police were alerted to an abandoned golf bag on the course.
Officers found Barqúin’s body in a pond some distance from the bag. According to the criminal complaint filed on Tuesday, she had been stabbed several times.
“It’s still very troubling for something like this to happen in broad daylight in a community that is as safe as Ames is,” the local police commander, Geoff Huff, told a news conference.
Police said that Collin Daniel Richards, 22, of no known address, had been charged with Barqúin’s murder.
Richards was ordered to remain behind bars on Tuesday on a $5m cash bond after a brief court appearance by video from the county jail in Nevada, Iowa. Court documents show he has a history of being charged with violence offenses, including abusing a former girlfriend.
News of the golfer’s death brought people out on to the streets in her home town of Reocín to pay their respects. The local council called a rally on Tuesday to hold a minute’s silence in her memory and said that three days’ mourning would be declared following “this vile act”.
“We woke this morning to the awful news of the murder of our young neighbour Celia Barquín on a golf course in Iowa, where she was studying and training to be a golfer, a sport in which she had a bright future,” the council said in a statement.
The mayor of Reocín, Pablo Diestro, said the area was struggling to come to terms with what had happened. “She was a really hard-working girl who was deeply loved by the whole town,” he told the Spanish sports site Marca.com. “It’s a tragedy. We can’t believe it.”