Colleen Ritzer, 24, was found dead in the woods behind Danvers High School, her death apparently the result of a stabbing. Philip Chism, 14, was found several hours later walking down a highway about five miles from Danvers. Both had been reported missing. Both had been found. More shockingly, the missing persons cases were connected: The Danvers homicide of the dedicated and admired high school math teacher, police would note in a press conference and in documents presented to the court, had occurred, allegedly according to the teen's own statements to the police, that the young man was responsible. And on Wednesday, the Christian Science Monitor reported (Oct. 23), Phillip Chism was arraigned, charged with the first-degree murder of Colleen Ritzer.
All that appears to be missing from the details is a motive. If the police have one, they aren't sharing...
Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said, according to CNN, police had been looking for Chism earlier in the day. He'd been reported missing. The teen had been last seen at 6:30 p.m. (EST).
Then Danvers Police were alerted to another missing person around 11:20 p.m. Teacher Colleen Ritzer had not made it home, nor was she answering her cell phone.
Ritzer was a teacher at Danvers High School, so investigators started looking for her there. They found blood in a second-floor bathroom. They would shortly find her lifeless body in the woods behind the school.
Around 12:30 a.m Wednesday morning. Topsfield Police discovered Philip Chism walking down the highway.
According to the criminal complaint: "Based on his statements and the corroborating evidence found at multiple scenes at ... Danvers High School and surrounding wooded area, the juvenile was subsequently placed into custody and booked for murder."
Blodgett told reporters Wednesday, according to CBS News, "We have no reason to believe that any other suspects are involved."
A not guilty plea was entered on Chism's behalf. The teen is being held without bail.
Authorities have yet to release a motive or an official cause of death. However, it is known that Chism knew Ritzer prior to her death and was even in one of her classes.
Philip Chism recently moved to the area and was known as a nice, quiet kid.
Ritzer was a popular teacher at Danvers High School. Known to be helpful, she was enthusiastic about teaching math, even going so far as to set up a website to aid her students and maintaining a Twitter account and Facebook page where she often posted inspirational messages. Family members said that teaching was all she'd ever wanted to do.
Colleen Ritzer was also a proponent of "Boston Strong," the rallying cry for unity and support for the city of Boston after the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in April. In a moving tribute to the teacher, a moment of silence was observed at Fenway Park in Boston preceding the first game of the 2013 World Series.