Former Friend of Alleged Killer Says Collin Richards Was Spiraling

BAYARD, Iowa -- A late night text message Monday shook Robert McCauley to his core.  "I get a text message saying the kid I grew up with is now looking at a random murder.”

Robert McCauley says he was best friends with Collin Richards when the two lived in Bayard.  "I grew up with him and his brother.  Doing regular kid stuff like baseball and just playing around in the yard.”

Now 22-years-old, Richards is charged with the murder of former Iowa State student-athlete and European amateur golf champion Celia Barquin Arozamena.  McCauley said, “He didn’t seem like the person that would come up with a scheme and say I have the urge to rape and kill a woman and the very same day in broad daylight and act on it?  He changed a lot.”

McCauley says that change may have begun when the two were at Coon Rapids-Bayard High School together.  "You never expected he’d do anything.  He never showed signs of being violent, he got into fights with people but just teenage stuff.”

Richards was even a member of the CR-B  wrestling team as of 2012 but then vanished.  "They sent him to Woodward Academy then after that he straight disappeared.  I have no idea where he went.”

An all-boys school in central Iowa, Woodward Academy lists its prospective students as 12-18 year-olds who are impulsive, irresponsible, lack self-discipline and have aggressive behavior. McCauley said, "It is a transitional school. They work with you and work to keep your grades up.  It’s basically for struggling kids.”

After Woodward, Richards returned to Bayard and his friend noticed he was engaging in criminal activity which led to ten arrests in four years.  His actions caused conflict in McCauley’s feelings towards a former best friend.  He said, "Part of me says I can’t be surprised because he started spiraling hard here recently.”

A disastrous spiral that police believe blew out the flame of a young woman. "This girl is out playing golf, doing something she loves, something she is good at and old boy comes up and kills her for no reason. I don’t understand why.”

Richards is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next week.  Calls to Woodward Academy to find out if Richards successfully graduated from their institution were not returned.