The murder of Celia Barquin on Monday drew the attention first of Iowa State, then of the entire golf-playing world. Barquin had been one of the greatest golfers to attend Iowa State and was moving through the qualifying school for the LPGA.
Per Golf Digest, a group of four men who had started before her let her play through (holding off and allowing faster golfers to play a hole), because she was alone, practicing, and skilled. A few holes later they found her clubs, her hat and her cell phone at the 9th tee.
The police were called and an investigation begun. A search of the grounds by course officials led to a body being spotted and retrieved from a small lake on the course. After the police arrived a positive identification was made, and the cause of her death was attributed to multiple stab wounds in her throat, head and chest.
Shortly afterward the police found a homeless man who implicated an associate; upon finding the encampment, the authorities discovered evidence of violence among the belongings of one of the people living there.
While police were cataloging the scene, the suspect returned to the camp. Per the De Moines Register, he had convinced two of his friends to drive him out of town and had given them the bloody knife for disposal, but had insisted on returning for his tent.
The accused murderer is Collin Daniels Richards, 22, who has a history of criminal violence and burglary. It is being described as a random act of violence.
The loss of a budding sports star is a news item, and is being covered domestically in places like People and Cosmopolitan as well as the standard news sites. There are two angles, however, which are unusual to this case and which are drawing extra attention.
First is the international aspect. This is being reported internationally, both in Spanish papers and elsewhere. That is because Celia Barquin was not American, but Spanish; she was a legal immigrant who was studying and working in the United States. The sudden, violent death of visitors to the United States always reflects poorly on the nation, moreso when it is someone with even a modicum of earned fame.
Second is the comparison against Mollie Tibbets. Two young women murdered from Iowan colleges are drawing associations, with some venues comparing the relatively nonexistent political response to this death vice the Tibbets murder. In this case, it was a hispanic immigrant who was brutally murdered by a caucasian American. The cases are radically dissimilar in one important way: the Tibbets murder revelation followed a long and attention-grabbing search, after which many viewers and readers were invested with the story and seeking a conclusion. There was a ready spotlight, and some politicians adore being the center of any existing story. That is not preventing some writers from making ethnicity and immigration status a key point of their articles, however.