Court Records Say Chism Left Note 'I Hate You All' Next to Victim's Body

In addition to the handwritten note, authorities say they also found a bloody box cutter in Philip Chism's backpack, along with various items belonging to Colleen Ritzer.

Colleen Ritzer. Credit: Courtesy
Colleen Ritzer. Credit: Courtesy
Court records unsealed Friday show prosecutors have strong reason to believe 14-year-old Philip Chism came to school the day of Oct. 22 with intent to kill.

Police say he brought a box cutter, ski mask, gloves and multiple changes of clothing with him, all indicating premeditation. When he was found walking along the road that night by police, they found a knife on him and a bloodstained box cutter in his backpack.

He also left a note next to teacher Colleen Ritzer's body that simply said: "I hate you all."

Documents relating to a search warrant of the teenager's home at 10 Riverside St. in Danvers were initially impounded, but released Friday morning after a grand jury returned indictments against Chism for first-degree murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery.

An affidavit from state police detective Robert LaBarge lays out a detailed chain of events of police activity, starting with Chism initially being reported missing on Oct. 22.

LaBarge describes in detail what surveillance footage revealed of Chism's activities during the time frame of the murder as well as how police found Ritzer's body in the woods behind Danvers High School early that next morning.

Within the span of an hour and 12 minutes, surveillance footage shows Ritzer leaving a second-floor classroom and entering a female students' bathroom on that floor at 2:54 p.m., shortly followed by Chism who had donned a hood over his head and gloves.

Several minutes later, a student whose identity has been redacted from the document walked into the bathroom, quickly walked out and could be seen walking down the hallway.

Officers later interviewed the student, who told them she entered the bathroom to call her father, but noticed what appeared to be the exposed backside of a person changing clothes. She said the person was leaning over and there were clothes on the floor. She then turned around and left the bathroom.

In the course of the next hour, video footage shows Chism exiting and re-entering the bathroom two more times, exiting and re-entering the school, changing clothes multiple times, wearing a black face mask at one point, and is seen entering the bathroom with a recycling barrel, which he then exits the building with toward the rear of the school.

Chism finally leaves the school at 4:06 p.m. LaBarge said Danvers officers later observed blood stains in the area of that bathroom as well as on Chism's pants after further review of the security footage.

Chism then apparently went to Hollywood Hits and saw the movie "Blue Jasmine," according to the timelime -- his phone was last pinged there at 4:28 p.m.

Chism was initially reported missing when his mother Diana called Danvers police around 6:30 p.m. and told them he never came home from school.

It wasn't until after 11 p.m. that Ritzer was reported missing to police and Chism was finally found walking along Route 1 in Topsfield at 12:30 a.m. An officer said he pat frisked Chism "for safety reasons" and found a knife.

At the Topsfield police station, a bloodstained box cutter was found inside Chism's backpack along with numerous credit cards and two driver's licenses belonging to Ritzer. He told officers the blood came from "the girl" and later admitted that he took various items out of Ritzer's car and that he tossed both his phone and an iPhone behind the movie theater.

A pair of women's underwear was found inside the backpack as well and Chism was taken to the Danvers police station, where was he was arrested and charged with murder.

Police say they found Ritzer's body in the woods behind the school in the early morning hours of Oct. 23. Her body was covered with leaves and debris, she was missing clothing and her throat had been slit. A handwritten note was also located next to her body.

Police say a green recycling barrel was found about 20 yards from the body. Clothing and other belongings were found in bushes nearby and a pair of blood soaked gloves were also found.

Prosecutors have simply said Ritzer was raped with an object.

LaBarge explained that police then obtained a warrant to search Chism's home in Danversport for any evidence he may have left, documenting his intentions.

LaBarge said they were looking for any documents, images or Internet activity that described a plan for the crime, indicated Chism's mental status and what might have led him to write a note, expressing a general hatred of everyone.

Police seized a computer, two memory drives and two USB drives from the home, but court records do not indicate what if anything was found on them.
John Castelluccio November 23, 2013 at 05:54 PM
mark, you're free to start up your own website, blog or what have you -- that's your right. Your comment was not removed because it was politically incorrect, but because it was an unsubstantiated personal attack made in very poor taste.
Rev JB November 24, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Ok, I am no one. I am really just an everyman who is no different than anyone else. I am outraged by this crime, but I am equally embarrassed that such hate comes to the surface before any actual humanity. I know that, most of all, we are angry and that we should be. A horrible thing happened and it is beyond explanation. However, as long as we continue to be xenophobic and hide behind placing hate and blame it will happen again. This is not a North/South thing; this is not a Black/White thing; this is not a homeless/homeowner thing; this is not a religious thing; this is not a single mother thing; and this is not just an American thing….this is a tragic thing that defies category and reason. So why focus on these differences when it diminishes the beauty of the victim's memory as an educator, a daughter, a friend, and someone who cared about making things better. Shouldn't we, instead, be obligated to look at what we as a community could do differently to promote a safer and preventative environment for our student and educators so that we don’t lose another treasure like her again. Isn't that a better use of angry energy than simple hate? Perhaps making outrageous and spiteful comments gets attention, but it does not make anyone (even the author) any less angry nor does it help any community heal.
Angry Dad November 24, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Outrage comes because the perp will not be punished. The punishment will not fit the crime and that is the frustration here. The kid will skate away after five years. Just like Aaron hernandez will skate free too. He will be back in the nfl playing for the jets in a few years. Watch.
Angry Dad November 24, 2013 at 06:31 PM
The feeling of resolution of knowing the rapist and murderer is locked up forever is lacking. That is why there is no peace due to this story. Wait until it comes out how he desecrated her. Then you will see outrage. And even more apathy
mark December 04, 2013 at 09:03 AM
This kid won't go free! If he does he will be found the way his victim was! Believe me, prison is the safest place for this punk!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »