Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


October 23, 2013

Danvers math teacher, of Andover, found dead; 14-year-old suspect in custody

ANDOVER — A teacher found dead outside Danvers High School has been identified as Colleen Ritzer, 24, of Andover.

The mathematics teacher was allegedly murdered by a 14-year-old student, officials said.

District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett would not identify the youth, citing state law.

Danvers police put out a public alert last night saying they were searching for Phil Chism, 14, of 10 Riverside St., Danvers. The boy was last seen near Hollywood Hits movie theater off Route 128.

Topsfield police located the missing youth on Route 1 in that town late Tuesday night.

Ritzer started as a Danvers teacher in August 2012. She was a 2007 Andover High graduate and 2011 graduate of Assumption College, according to information available on the Internet.

She was reported missing at 11:30 Tuesday night after she did not answer her cellphone or return home to Andover.

Blood was later found inside the high school, prompting an immediate investigation.

Blodgett, during a press conference this morning, did not comment on a motive for Ritzer’s murder.

A reporter asked a question about whether Ritzer was stabbed, which Blodgett rebuffed.

Town officials, which included Town Manager Wayne Marquis and Danvers School Superintendent Lisa Dana, were grim faced and visibly shaken during the press conference.

The youth in custody will be arraigned today in Salem Juvenile Court in Salem, Mass.

Check back to for updates on this story. Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill #DHSmurder


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