Danvers Homicide: Teacher Colleen Ritzer's Body Found Behind School, Student Arrested

Image: Danvers Homicide: Teacher Colleen Ritzer's Body Found Behind School, Student Arrested Students leave flowers and a teddy bear outside the Danvers, Mass., high school, in memory of Colleen Ritzer.

Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 09:17 AM

By Ken Mandel

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A 14-year-old boy is accused of homicide in the death of Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer, whose body was discovered early Wednesday morning in the woods behind the Massachusetts school.

The boy was reported missing Tuesday night, and so was Ritzer. He will be formally charged with first-degree murder in juvenile court Wednesday, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett told The Herald News.

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Police found blood in a second-floor bathroom on school grounds at about 11:20 Tuesday night, and found the body less than an hour later. The teen was located walking along Route 1 in Topsfield, Mass., and picked up Wednesday morning, the Herald News said.

All public schools in the Danvers district, which includes five elementary schools, one middle school, and the high school, were closed Wednesday due to the homicide investigation.

Police began investigating after it was discovered Ritzer hadn't returned home from work Tuesday and wasn't answering her phone, The Associated Press reported. Blodgett told reporters that there are no other suspects.

"We have no reason to believe any other suspects are involved," he said at a news conference.

Blodgett wouldn't discuss a motive, or say how the teacher died.

Students at the school flooded Twitter with their feelings on their slain teacher, mentor and friend. According to the Boston Globe, she interacted with students through social media, and often posted inspirational messages and reminders about homework assignments. In her own profile, Ritzer described herself as a "math teacher often too excited about the topics I'm teaching."

One student even reached out to the Boston Red Sox, who open the World Series at Fenway Park Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Another poster 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.

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Related stories:

Teacher Lauren Patterson: Body Found in Qatar, 2 Held for Murder

Teacher Shot, Killed at Nevada Middle School

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