Public Safety

Suspect in killing of ISU golfer pleads not guilty

Arraignment canceled after he enters written plea

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AMES — Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of a former Iowa State University golfer.

Richards, 22, is charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 17 death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, whose body was found in water near the ninth tee at the Clearwater Links Golf Course in Ames.

Richards entered a written plea of not guilty Monday morning in Story County District Court, according to records.

An in-person arraignment, originally scheduled for Monday afternoon, was canceled.

On Friday, State Medical Examiner Dennis Klein said Barquin Arozamena died of multiple sharp force injuries — police said she was stabbed multiple times — and asphyxia due to an obstruction in her airway.

Klein said documents indicate the obstruction was a stick that had been placed in her mouth and throat.

Information contained in search warrant documents filed in Story County District Court show police searched the campsite near Coldwater Golf Links where Richards, who has no permanent address, was found.

Various items of clothing that had apparent blood stains were found in a tent and a backpack.

Officers also searched a residence on Washington Avenue, where Richards was believed to have gone, and recovered two knives, including one that had a serrated blade. According to the report, “one explanation for the variance in serrations marks is a knife containing two separate patterns of serration, one larger and one smaller.”

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Photographs, taken of the injuries examined during the autopsy, were compared to the injuries on Richards’ hand. Officers found the injury to Richard’s hand had serration marks consistent with a wound on the victim’s body.

Richards remains in jail on $5 million cash-only bail. If convicted of first-degree murder, Richards would serve life in prison without parole.

Barquin Arozamena, the 2018 Big 12 champion, finished her NCAA career during the 2017-18 school year and was completing her civil engineering degree.

One of the best players in ISU golfing history, she was the career leader in scoring average (73.44), had five top-10 finishes and 78 birdies.

Police said she was golfing alone at the course when attacked. Authorities quickly located Richards near a homeless encampment in woods not far from the course by a sheriff’s dog tracking a scent.

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