Former Cal golfer’s death labeled ‘suspicious’

Diane Kwon

Former Cal women’s golfer Diane Kwon’s death has been labeled “suspicious,” according to the Fremont Police Department.

A passerby found Kwon’s body lying near her car in a Fremont parking lot on Sept. 5 around 11 p.m., according to the department. The cause of death has yet to be determined, according to the Alameda County Coroner’s Office.

An autopsy has been conducted and a toxicology test is underway, according to the office. The office did not comment on the result or timetable of either test.

An employee of Forensic Analytical, a forensics organization unaffiliated with the investigation, said the turnaround time on toxicology tests could be “anywhere from one to two weeks.”

Kwon — who was no longer a Cal student at the time of her death —  competed only in the fall season of her sophomore year after playing for all of her freshman year. She completed her sophomore spring semester as a full-time student, according to her Cal athletic profile.

The decision to leave UC Berkeley surprised Ananda Rochita, who played golf with Kwon in the Junior Golf Association of Northern California and in the American Junior Golf Association.

“That’s something I wondered, too, especially since she did very well in the conference,” said Rochita.

Despite a short career, Kwon made a significant mark on the women’s golf circuit. Lexi Thompson, the youngest golfer to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open, honored Kwon in a Facebook status. Kwon’s major successes included placing 13th at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational and winning the Long Beach City Golf Championship in Southern California.

“I can still remember how fluid her swing is and what a phenomenal golf player she is,” Rochita said.

As a junior player, Kwon attended John F. Kennedy High School in Fremont. There, Kwon garnered MVP status all four years she played on the team. Golfweek magazine’s junior rankings ranked her a top 10 athlete. She also was an AJGA honorable mention All-American.

Rochita fondly remembered Kwon both as a golfer and a friend.

“She had a talent for golf that I wish I had and something about her that is so radiant,” she said.

Christopher Barrios, a high school classmate of Kwon’s, echoed a similar sentiment, remembering Kwon as “the girl in black Adidas sweatpants, her hair in a ponytail, a big smile on her face and a positive down-to-earth attitude on life.”

The Fremont Police Department asks that anyone with information regarding her death please call (510) 790-6900.