Colleen Ritzer was a 24-year-old math teacher from Danvers, Mass. who was murdered Tuesday night. Ritzer was reportedly murdered by a 14-year-old student, Philip Chism, who attended Danvers High School, where she worked. Chism is being charged as an adult for the murder and is currently being held without bail.
Chism had been reported missing Tuesday evening and friends, family, and other students searched for him for hours. A few hours later, Ritzer was reported missing after she didn't come home from work. Police searched the school and found blood in a second floor bathroom. An hour later, police found Chism walking down a highway nearby.
Chism was taken to Danvers police and interviewed. Police also looked at video surveillance from inside the school. The video and interview led them to find Ritzer’s body in the woods behind the high school. Court records state, “It was learned from an interview with the suspect and video surveillance footage recovered at the high school, that a juvenile student that attends Danvers High School assaulted and subsequently murdered Colleen Ritzer and disposed of her body near the high school grounds." Court records also indicate that Ritzer was beaten and assaulted.
Ritzer had a current Twitter account that she used to tweet homework assignments and math jokes. She described herself as a "math teacher often too excited about the topics I'm teaching." Students describe a kind and loved teacher, who was the favorite teacher of many. She kept a positive attitude and tweeted "happy birthday" messages to many of her students. Her Twitter account reveals she was as described.
She often tweeted positive messages, as well as homework, and loved 90s television. One tweet from Sept. 8 stated, "I ordered a box of munchkins to bring to my family and the guy next to me in line told me they'd kill me. So there's that. #thanks". Another tweet that has been retweeted over 1,000 times since her murder reads, "No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind."
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