The golfer who saw a 22-year-old college sports star just before she was murdered has described his encounter with her and expressed disbelief about her apparent murder — in broad daylight on a Monday morning.
Harley Thornton was golfing with friends at an Ames, Iowa golf course Monday morning when the group encountered Celia Barquin Arozamena, though they did not know who she was at the time.
In an interview with KCCI, Thornton described meeting the young woman less than an hour before he noticed an abandoned golf bag left on the course, which prompted a 911 call that would ultimately lead police to the 22-year-old’s body.
“This very nice young lady came up with her push cart and we all agreed that she should go in front of us,” he told the news station. “We knew she would be a lot faster than a bunch of old men.”
— KCCI News (@KCCINews) September 18, 2018
KCCI published a video of the interview here.
The young woman went ahead of Thornton’s group, and he noticed something was amiss when they got to the ninth hole and found an abandoned golf bag.
“This was very strange and not right,” Thornton said. “There is no reason to abandon your clubs in the middle of the fairway.”
After contacting the course’s clubhouse and learning that no one there had seen the woman, Thornton called 911.
Responding officers found a body “some distance away” from where the bag had been left, according to a police statement obtained by the Des Moines Register.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Collin Daniel Richards, 22, was arrested and charged with murdering Barquin Arozamena, a standout golf player at Iowa State University who had been ranked No. 69 in the country by Golfweek.
Thornton did not see anyone suspicious on the golf course, and told the news station that he was in disbelief that someone could commit such a violent act out in the open, and in view of neighboring buildings.
“Nine-thirty, 10 o’clock in the morning and with full view of anyone that wanted to look … that is a very brazen act,” he said.
Police have not released the specific cause of death, or a possible motive for the apparent murder.
CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.