Teacher Found Dead Outside Mass. High School; 14-Year-Old In Cus - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

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UPDATE: Teacher Found Dead Outside High School; 14-Year-Old In Custody

Posted: Updated:

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) - A vigil was held Wednesday night for 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer, the math teacher who was found dead outside a Massachusetts high school. Authorities are still investigating what may have motivated the suspect, 14-year-old Philip Chism who is being held without bail.

UPDATE:

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) - A 14-year-old Massachusetts high school student charged with killing a teacher has been ordered held without bail.
   
Philip Chism was ordered held Wednesday at his arraignment in adult court on a murder charge in Salem.
   
His defense attorney, Denise Regan, argued for the proceedings to be closed and her client to be allowed to stay hidden because of his age. The judge denied the request. Regan declined to comment outside court.
   
Officials haven't released a cause of death, but prosecutors say the teen beat well-liked Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer. Her body was found in the woods behind the school early Wednesday.
   
The boy also was reported missing Tuesday. He was spotted walking along a road early Wednesday.
   
He is due back in court Nov. 22.

UPDATE:

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) - One student calls her "the nicest teacher anyone could ever have."
   
Students at Danvers High School in Massachusetts say they're stunned by the killing of 24-year-old math teacher Colleen Ritzer, whose body was found in the woods behind the school early today. Investigators located her body after first discovering blood in a second-floor school bathroom.
   
Authorities have charged a 14-year-old student at the school with murder. Philip Chism is described by classmates as soft-spoken and pleasant. A teammate on the school's soccer team says he "wasn't violent at all."
   
He was ordered held without bail after his appearance today in adult court.
   
One 17-year-old who was a student in Ritzer's geometry class last year says she was a warm, welcoming person who would stand outside her classroom and say hello to students she didn't teach. Chris Weimert says, "She always had a warm smile on her face."
   
Another student says kids related to the young teacher, who liked to wear jeans and boots like the students wore.
   
Ritzer had a Twitter account where she gave homework assignments, encouraged students and described herself as a "math teacher often too excited about the topics I'm teaching."
   
All public schools in Danvers, 20 miles north of Boston, were closed today.


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NBC NEWS - A math teacher was found dead Wednesday in the woods outside her Massachusetts high school, and authorities said they would charge a 14-year-old student with murder.

The body of the teacher, identified as Colleen Ritzer, 24, was found just after midnight in the woods near Danvers High School, about a half-hour outside Boston. Blood was found in a second-floor bathroom at the school, authorities said.

Authorities said their murder investigation was connected to their search for a missing 14-year-old boy the day before, but they did not explicitly say that he was the juvenile charged in the killing.

They said the 14-year-old charged with murder would be arraigned later Wednesday. They did not discuss a motive, nor how the teacher was killed.

Jonathan Blodgett, the Essex County district attorney, told reporters that it was a "terrible tragedy."

"She was a very, very respected, loved teacher," he said.

On what appeared to be her Twitter profile, Ritzer posted about her enthusiasm for geometry proofs and listed homework assignments. Earlier this month, a tweet encouraged her followers to "find something good in every day."

Her students took to Twitter to express their shock and grief. One called Ritzer "literally the sweetest, most harmless person ever. she always wanted to help anyone in any way she could." They also spread word of a candlelight vigil at the high school Wednesday night.

Public schools in Danvers were closed for the day.

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