A homeless man has attacked and killed a top amateur golfer from Spain who was playing a round near her university campus in central Iowa, leaving her body in a pond on the course, according to police.
Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, a student at Iowa State University (ISU).
Barquin was found Monday morning (local time) in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 50 kilometres north of Des Moines.
Richards made a brief court appearance on Tuesday from the Story County jail in Nevada, Iowa and was ordered jailed on a $US5 million ($7 million) bond.
Police were called to the golf course around 10.20am to investigate a possible missing female after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it.
Officers found Barquin’s body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint filed on Tuesday against Richards.
A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where Richards had been living in a tent, the complaint said.
Officers found Richards with several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting, and a deep laceration in his left hand that he tried to conceal, it said.
An acquaintance of Richards told investigators that the suspect had said in recent days that he had “an urge to rape and kill a woman” while they were walking on a trail near the course, the complaint said.
A second acquaintance told police that Richards arrived at his home on Monday appearing, “dishevelled and covered in blood, sand and water”.
He bathed and left with his clothes in a backpack.
Investigators later recovered two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that Richards allegedly gave to two other people after the slaying, the complaint said.
Those two individuals were driving Richards out of town after the slaying, but he asked them to drop him off near the camp so he could get his tent and that’s when officers arrested him, it said.
Barquin was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year.
The university said the native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.
She was one of the most accomplished golfers in ISU history, the university said.
In April, she became the second women’s golfer at Iowa State to earn medallist honours at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.
Barquin was ranked No.69 nationally by Golfweek.
The ISU team announced on Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss.
Iowa State president Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death” of Barquin, describing her as a “dedicated civil engineering student” and an “acclaimed golfer with a bright future”.
Head women’s golf coach Christie Martens said in a release that Barquin was “loved by all her teammates and friends” and was an “outstanding representative of our school”.
“We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life,” Martens said.
History of violence
Richards has a history of violence and drug use dating to his teenage years.
Court records show that since 2014, Richards has been charged with abusing a former girlfriend, using a baseball bat to smash a vehicle window and robbing a petrol station.
In one of his previous cases, Richards allegedly threatened to shoot clerks at a convenience store after they caught him shoplifting.
In another, Richards admitted he stole a man’s pickup truck while high on drugs. In a third, the Iowa State Patrol seized a long knife from him during a traffic stop.
The records also show Richards left prison earlier this year, once lived in a halfway house in Ames, and was arrested in June after being found passed out near a bottle shop.
A conviction would result in a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. A preliminary hearing is set for September 28.