Teacher Colleen Ritzer graduated from college in 2011. She was murdered in school 2013. She was 24.
“She was gentle, with a big smile,” said Mary Duffy, who has lived next door to Colleen Ritzer’s family in Andover for more than two decades. “It makes no sense.”
MASSACHUSETTS – A 24-year-old Danvers High School teacher has been found dead, and a 14-year-old boy is facing a murder charge in the case, Essex County prosecutors said this morning.
Colleen Ritzer’s body was found in the woods behind the school, said Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.
Philip D. Chism faces charges as an adult and will be arraigned this afternoon in Salem District Court, the court clerk’s office said.
Chism had been reported missing Tuesday after he did not return home from school. Ritzer was reported missing at about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday when she did not return home and did not answer her cellphone.
Police searched the school and found blood in a second-floor bathroom. Ritzer’s body was found later behind the school, Blodgett said in a news conference this morning at the high school.
[…] He said authorities had no reason to believe there were any other suspects.In the morning news conference, he did not identify Chism, citing state law protecting the records of juvenile offenders.
He also released few further details of the investigation, declining to comment on whether the suspect knew Ritzer, when the suspect was linked to the teacher’s slaying, and how Ritzer died. No further details were released at the arraignment.
With his mother in the gallery, the tall, lanky boy with close-cropped hair, stood quietly during the proceeding, wearing a jail-issued white jumpsuit.
But police said in a report filed today in court that the charges came after an interview of Chism and a review of video surveillance footage recovered at the school.
The evidence indicated that Chism “assaulted and subsequently murdered Colleen Ritzer and disposed of her body near the high school grounds,” the report said.
“She was a very, very, respected, loved teacher. … It’s a terrible tragedy for the entire Danvers community,” Blodgett said. (read more)