Boy Identified and Charged With Murder In Death of Danvers, Massachusetts Teacher

Colleen Ritzer via her Twitter account.
Colleen Ritzer via her Twitter account.

Just days after a teacher was shot to death by a student in Nevada, another teacher has been found dead and a student is being charged with murder. The body of Colleen Ritzer, 24, was found in the woods near Danvers High School Tuesday.

Police found the math teacher’s body after she didn’t go home after classes Tuesday. As CNN reports, searchers reportedly found blood in a school bathroom which led them to shut down all seven schools in the suburban Boston town as they investigated. They found Ritzer’s body a short time later but have not released a cause of death.

The boy, who has been identified as 14-year-old Philip Chism, was also reported missing Tuesday. Police arrested him after spotting him walking down a street.

Chism appeared in court a short time ago. The District Attorney is presenting the  case to grand jury. The teen is being kept in an adult facility and if he’s indicted Chism will be tried as an adult.

Students tell CNN the teen moved to Massachusetts at the beginning of the school year from Tennessee. He was apparently on the Junior Varsity soccer team and seemed like a “nice kid.”

Police aren’t saying anything in regard to a motive or any kind of relationship between Ritzer and Chism, although CNN reports the young woman taught math to students Chism’s age.

Ritzer was in her second year of teacher at the high school while working on her master’s degree in school counseling at Salem State University. In a statement, the university said Colleen was a dedicated teacher who wanted to help children with special needs. “She believed children have much to offer and often do not realize how special they are as individuals. In her application to Salem State she said she was dedicated to ‘helping students in times of need.’ ”

Ritzer’s aunt, Shirley Martellucci, tells CNN her niece never had any trouble with students. “She always wanted to be a teacher, all her life. It’s just unbelievable that someone would take her life at such a young age.”

A lot more questions than answers, at this point. Babble is following the story and will bring you more as we learn it.


Although a motive still hasn’t been made public, CNN is reporting a box cutter was used to kill beloved Massachusetts high school teacher Colleen Ritzer this week. Chism also reportedly changed his clothes after the killing.

Detectives interviewed Chism and whatever he said in combination with the school’s surveillance video led to his arrest. In court yesterday, it was alleged the teenager “did assault and beat” Ritzer. He is being held without bail on charges of murder.

Image source: Twitter/com/mrsritztermath

Tagged as: ,