Colleen Ritzer, a high school teacher in Danvers, Massachusetts, did not return home from work Tuesday evening. Instead, she was found dead yesterday in the woods behind the school where she taught. According to CNN, fourteen-year-old Philip Chism has been charged with her murder. Law enforcement officials indicated that there is a surveillance video inside the high school that shows Chism “hauling Ritzer’s body from the bathroom toward the woods in what appeared to be a recycle bin.”
Chism was arraigned on a murder charge yesterday in Salem, Massachusetts, where he was found walking down the street. Chism is charged with assaulting and beating Ritzer to death. He is being held without bail, and a grand jury will decide whether or not he will be charged as an adult. According to Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, “The teacher was reported missing and as a result of that, and her not answering her cell phone, police instituted a search.” The search resulted in the discovering of blood in a second-floor bathroom of Danvers High School late Tuesday night.
The connection between Chism and Ritzer is unclear. During a news conference prior to Chism’s arraignment, Blodgett declined to discuss any details about a connection between Chism and Ritzer. Blodgett cited Chism’s status as a juvenile and did not indicate whether or not Chism was a student at the school. According to ABC News, Blodgett declined to indicate “what the motive may have been.” Chism is the only suspect.
As a result of the investigation, all of the seven schools in Danvers, Massachusetts closed today. This incident occurred only two days after a 12-year-old boy killed a popular math teacher in Sparks, Nevada.