Collin Richards
Collin Richards

September 18, 2018

A 22-year-old man accused of stabbing an Iowa State University student to death while she golfed Monday morning in Ames — in an apparent attempt to fulfill his “urge to rape and kill a woman” — lived, went to school and committed crimes in Carroll, Greene and Guthrie counties, according to court records.

Collin Daniel Richards is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, 22, a native of Spain who was set to finish her undergraduate studies in civil engineering this semester and was a standout golfer for the university.

Richards faces life in prison if he is convicted.

Barquin Arozamena was golfing that morning at Coldwater Golf Links on the south side of town when Richards apparently abducted her on the ninth hole about 10 a.m., Ames Police Commander Geoff Huff said in a news conference on Tuesday.

Richards, who is homeless, had been camping in a wooded park just north of the golf course with another man.

“Within the past several days, (Richards) had made a statement (to the other man) to the effect of having an urge to rape and kill a woman,” court records show. “This statement was reportedly made while the two were located walking along a trail near the Coldwater Golf Links.”

That trail cuts through the middle of the golf course and passes along hole nine.

A group of golfers who also were playing the course that morning — and had allowed Barquin Arozamena to pass through because she was playing faster — found the woman’s golf bag on hole nine’s fairway, but she was gone. They called the police at 10:24 a.m.

About 40 minutes later, someone found Barquin Arozamena’s body in a pond along hole nine. She had several stab wounds in her upper body, including her head and neck, court records show.

Huff declined to say whether Richards had attempted to disrobe her.

After the attack, Richards allegedly went to visit an acquaintance in a nearby neighborhood and bathed. The acquaintance told police Richards was covered in blood, sand and water.

Later, two people were giving Richards a ride to Jefferson — where he has lived in recent years — but he told them he needed to stop at the campsite to retrieve his tent.

About 3 p.m. he approached officers as they searched the area of his campsite, and he had scratches on his face and a deep cut on his left hand, which he tried to hide, court records show.

Officers found two pairs of shorts in his backpack with blood on them, and they retrieved Richards’ knife from someone he allegedly gave it to after the attack.

Richards was arrested and is held in Story County jail in lieu of $5 million bail.

Richards was released from prison in June after serving about seven months for violating his probations for several crimes he committed in Guthrie County, including an incident in January 2015 at a convenience store in Bayard.

Employees of Sparky’s One Stop saw him try to steal two energy drinks and confronted him. Richards became enraged, court records show, and threatened to get a gun and “shoot up the place.”

Guthrie County Sheriff Marty Arganbright said Richards stopped at his office after being released from prison to notify him he was back and was optimistic about the future.

“He was just trying to do better in his life,” Arganbright said. “He always acted like he was the victim, always down on his luck and that he can’t do better.”

Richards had talks like that with Arganbright here and there over the years. Richards’ mother and other family live in Guthrie County, and Richards attended part of his fourth grade year at the elementary school in Guthrie Center, said Steve Smith, superintendent of AC/GC Schools.

Smith said Richards was homeschooled as well, but he didn’t know more details.

Richards attended Coon Rapids-Bayard High School for about two years before he transferred to Clarinda Academy — a residential foster-care facility for delinquent children — in far southwest Iowa, said Brett Gibbs, superintendent of the Coon Rapids-Bayard school district.

Richards’ father and grandparents live in Coon Rapids, and last year Richards was arrested for breaking into the grandparents’ house to retrieve some of his belongings. His grandfather told police that Richards had been living there but was no longer allowed because he was abusing unspecified drugs and lost his job, court records show.

“We’re just so devastated,” his grandmother, Diane Richards, said in a brief telephone interview with the Daily Times Herald on Tuesday.

Jefferson Police Chief Mark Clouse confirmed a series of run-ins with Collin Richards when he lived on South Elm Street in Jefferson for a couple of years.

Richards was arrested in May 2015 for domestic abuse assault for dragging a woman from his house in a headlock.

“Grandparents owned that house,” Clouse said Tuesday. “He was here for a couple of years supposedly remodeling the house for his grandparents.”

He added: “Unfortunately, the only arrest we were able to make was for the one domestic disturbance.”

Arganbright, the sheriff in Guthrie County, said he last talked to Richards a few weeks ago when Richards went to his office to retrieve a duffel bag his deputies had confiscated during one of Richards’ arrests.

I told him I didn’t have time to look for it,” Arganbright said. “He said, ‘OK, I’ll check back again later.’ ... Never would you have thought he was going to go to a golf course in the morning with the intent to do something like that. It made us all sick.”