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Spanish golfer Celia Barquín murdered on Iowa golf course

Celia Barquín.
Celia Barquín. / EFE
  • The body of the European Ladies' Amateur champion was found with stab wounds to the head, neck and torso

A man has been charged with the murder of Spanish golfer Celia Barquín Arozamena, who was found dead on a golf course in Ames (Iowa) on Monday.

The body of Barquín, 22, was found in a pond on the Coldwater Links golf course with stab wounds to the head, neck and torso.

On Tuesday, police gave a press conference in which they announced they had arrested a man, Collin Daniel Richards, also 22, and charged him with murder in the first degree.

According to officers, Barquín had been playing on the course alone, and investigations are ongoing as to whether the assailant had attempted to rape her. In any case, the detained man was found to have marks on his face apparently as a result of a struggle.

Abandoned golf bag

Local police in Ames first received a call at 10.24am local time on Monday to warn them of "suspicious circumstances". A group of golfers had found an abandoned golf bag "with no one closeby", which led officers to comb the area.

The police then recovered a body "some distance" from the bag and initial investigations could confirm that Celia Barquín was the victim and that she had been "attacked".

The 112 police hotline in Madrid then received a call from Iowa police in the early hours of Tuesday morning to inform them of Barquín's death, in an attempt to make contact with her family.

In shock

The family of the young golfer, who live in Torrelavega (Cantabria), have been in contact with the Spanish authorities in Washington and are waiting for the autopsy to be completed so her body can be returned to them.

Her brother, Andrés Barquín, said: "Right now the family is destroyed. We are trying to come to terms with what has happened so we ask for privacy at this time.

An impressive list of achievements

Barquín, who was studying Engineering in the United States after receiving a five-year scholarship, had only two months ago been crowned European Ladies Amateur champion at Penati Golf Resort in Slovakia.

This year, she was going to complete her fourth year at the University of Iowa, whose president, Wendy Wintersteen, described her death as "a tragic loss". "She had a great talent and was a wonderful student."

Victory in Slovakia had secured her an invitation to the professional Women's British Open next year at Woburn, and she also qualified for the professional 2018 US Women's Open.

As an international player, Barquín helped Spain to bronze at silver at the Women's European Championships in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Malaga golfer Azahara Muñoz, who competed with and against Barquín in the last few years, said good-bye to her friend with a message on Instagram: "Waking up to the news that Celia is no longer with us has broken my heart. This world can be so marvellous and so difficult at the same time."