Mollie Tibbetts and Celia Barquin Arozamena: Two of Many


Madison Feltman, News Editor

Two campuses, two young women, one common connection, similar tragedies. Mollie Tibbetts and Celia Barquin are just two young women out many who are victims of senseless acts violence being committed against women every day.


Mollie Tibbetts was a 20-year-old college student who attended the University of Iowa. On July 18, Tibbetts disappeared while on a jog in a small-town community of 1,400 people, Brooklyn, Iowa. Tibbetts was staying with her boyfriend for the summer as well as working a local job. Alarms were raised immediately when Tibbetts had not called in for work and did not show up. The long search began as authorities had been brought in nationwide.


As volunteers combed through the fields along the route that Tibbetts had ran, it turned up empty. The month-long search brought authorities down hundreds of different avenues. They explored many different outcomes, including a pig farm that had been flagged when a piece of Tibbetts clothing was found.


Towards the end of the search authorities had closed in on five possible locations and on August 21, the body of Mollie Tibbetts was found in a corn field.


Christian Bahena Rivera, an illegal immigrant, was arrested just hours after he allegedly confessed and led police to Tibbetts’ body. Rivera had stated to police that he had approached Tibbetts for conversation, things altercated and when she had threatened to call 911, he said he ‘got mad’ and cannot recall what followed.


Rivera made his first court appearance on Aug. 22 where Tibbett’s family released a statement.


“On behalf of Mollie’s entire family we thank all of you those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl,” the statement reads.


Early last week in court, Rivera pleaded not guilty to murder charges. His next trial date is set for April 16 of next year.


Celia Barquin Arozamena was a 22-year-old student at Iowa State University where she was furthering her golf career as a top member of their golf team. Barquin Arozamena was out playing a round of golf on the morning of Sept. 17 at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa. Other golfers had reported meeting Barquin Arozamena on the course, but as they reached the ninth hole, she was nowhere to be found and her clubs, along with her cell phone were left near the hole.


Police were immediately called to the scene and found her body with several stab wounds a distance from her bag.


“It’s still very troubling for something like this to happen in broad daylight in a community that is as safe as Ames is,” Ames Police Commander Geoff Huff said in a news conference.


A police dog was able to track Barquin Arozamena’s scent to a camp for the homeless near the golf course, where the suspect Collin Richards was found ‘disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water.’ An acquaintance of Richards later told police and investigators that he had expressed that he had the urge to ‘rape and kill a woman.’


Barquin Arozamena was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the year. She was also ranked No. 69 nationally by golf week.


“We will never forget her competitive drive to the best and her passion for life,” ISU head women’s golf coach Christie Martens released in a statement.


Both universities have held vigils in order to honor these young women. Many students have also taken to social media, expressing their condolences along with their fear.


With the increasing amount of violence across college campuses, there has also been an increasing amount of fear among students. Both of these young women were participating in normal day-to-day activities and became victims.


With an increase in victimization many universities and cities across the nation have also been increasing their awareness of violent crime and providing more resources to college students.


UND currently provides many supportive measures such as free counselings and the University Counseling Center for those who have been victims of violence. The University also provides a 12-hour class or one night a month that educates students on sexual violence. The Grand Forks Police Department also offers self-defense classes upon request.