14-year-old Arrested in Murder of Massachusetts Teacher

14 year old murdered Colleen Ritzer

A high school student who is only 14-years-old has been arrested in connection with the murder of a Massachusetts math teacher at his high school in Danvers, MA. Her body was discovered in a wooded area that is located behind the school.

Police found the body of 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer early Wednesday morning according to Jonathan Blodgett, who is the Essex District Attorney. Philip Chism, was taken into custody and is being held without bond. He is believed to have alleged murdered Ritzer sometime Tuesday evening.

The young teacher was reported missing close to 11:20 p.m. late Tuesday night when she never returned from school. She also did not answer any cell phone calls. When police detectives went searching for her, they discovered blood in a bathroom on the second floor of the high school. It was soon after this they found her remains in the woods.

Colleen body out of woods

Chism was also called in as missing on Tuesday when he too failed to arrive home from school. He was found walking along Route 1 in a neighboring town, Topsfield, around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. He was later taken into custody due to statements he made and also from police watching the video tape surveillance that was in the school and what they say they saw.

During the teen’s indictment which was in adult court, his defense lawyer attorney contended for the proceeding to be a closed case and that her client should be able to remain hidden because of him being a minor. The judge refused this request.

The victim graduated from Assumption College in Worcester in 2011, magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in math. She also received a secondary education concentration, it read in the college 2011 commencement booklet. She lived at home with her brother who was 20 and her sister who was in high school. Neighbors said they seemed to be a close family who often did things together.

Mary Duffy, who has lived next door to the Ritzers for more than 20 years said she had known Colleen from the time she was a baby and said the young woman’s only ambition in life was to be a math teacher.

Dale Webster, Ritzer’s uncle, gave a brief prepared written statement where Ritzer’s family asked to be given privacy. It also said that the family is mourning the tragic death of their amazing, beautiful daughter and sister. How everyone who knew and loved Colleen realized her passion for teaching and how she was a mentor to every one of her students.

Classmates of Chism are stunned by his alleged actions. He had just recently moved to the area from Tennessee but had already made a number of friends. He also was a very skilled soccer player and was a high ranking member of the junior varsity soccer team.

A couple of teammates said he missed practice on Tuesday, which was very unlike him and he also failed to show up at a dinner at a team member’s house which was at 6 p.m. that same evening.

The police have stated that there is no reason to believe anyone else was involved in Ritzer’s killing and there was no danger to the public’s safety.

All the public schools that are located in the Danvers area are closed. Danvers is approximately 20 miles north of Boston.

Danvers high school’s students are in the process of planning a candlelight vigil for Wednesday evening. This may help start the grieving process for those still in shock about their 14-year-old classmate who was arrested for the murder of their teacher.

Written by: Kimberly Ruble

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