The body of 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer was found in a wooded area behind a Massachusetts high school early this morning, and a 14-year-old boy is being charged with her murder.
Colleen was a Math teacher at Danvers High School in Danvers, which is about 20 miles north of Boston. She was reported missing last night, after not returning home from work and not answering her cell phone. Police found blood in a second-floor bathroom in the high school, and then located her body in the woods.
Police are charging 14-year-old Philip D. Chism with her murder. Chism was also reported missing yesterday after not coming home from school. He was picked up by police at 12:30 AM, after they received a call that a pedestrian was walking north in a southbound lane along a road in a neighboring town. Police held him in custody after realizing that he was the missing boy they had been looking for.
Danvers police had tweeted yesterday from their Twitter account, “Missing Child Philip Chism 14YOM was last seen today at 6:30 near Hollywood Hits.” Then, a few hours later, they tweeted: “Philip chism has been found safely.”
No word yet on how Colleen was killed, but police say it’s obvious she was a homicide victim.
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett held a press conference this morning, which you can watch below:
Chism was arraigned this afternoon, where he was officially charged as an adult, which is why his name has been released. He is being held without bail.
According to the Boston Globe, police said in a report today that the charges came after an interview with Chism and a review of video surveillance footage recovered at the school.
Colleen had an active Twitter account, posting homework updates and study guides for her students. In her Twitter bio, she said she was a “math teacher often too excited about the topics I’m teaching.”
A probable cause hearing will take place on Nov. 22.
UPDATE: 10/23/13 1:19 PM
There’s a heartbreaking quote that Colleen’s students are posting on their Twitter accounts that’s apparently something that Colleen said: “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”
The more I read about her, the more wonderful of a person it seemed she was.
UPDATE: 10/24/13 10:41 AM
Rumors are running wild in this case already, but below is some info that I believe came from credible sources.
According to ABC News, a police source told them that surveillance video from the high school shows Chism dragging a recycling bin with Colleen’s body inside through the halls and out the door of the school. He reportedly used a box cutter in the killing.
It’s also being reported that Chism went to a movie theater after the murder and watched the latest Woody Allen movie. Colleen’s phone was allegedly found near the theater.
You can see video from Chism’s court appearance yesterday below.
Chism’s court-appointed attorney hinted that she will argue that Chism is not competent enough to stand trial.
UPDATE: 11/22/13 9:28 AM
Philip Chism has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated rape, and armed robbery. Prosecutors say Chism allegedly attacked Colleen after she offered to stay after class with him to help him.
He is facing the murder charge as an adult.
– Assumption College graduate, Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer slain; 14-year-old student charged
– Teen to be charged as adult in Danvers teacher’s death
– Revealed: Boy, 14, ‘hid out in high school before slashing teacher, 24, to death with box cutter stolen from art class’