Family, Friends Will Gather to Mourn Slain Teacher at Andover Church

Services are scheduled for Sunday and Monday in Colleen Ritzer's hometown of Andover for family and friends to pay their final respects.

A memorial to Colleen Ritzer has grown outside Danvers High School where she taught math. Credit: John Castelluccio
A memorial to Colleen Ritzer has grown outside Danvers High School where she taught math. Credit: John Castelluccio
By John Castelluccio, Bryan McGonigle, Owen Boss and Chris Helms

DANVERS, Mass. — Family and friends will gather in Andover Sunday and Monday to pay their final respects to Colleen Ritzer. Both a wake Sunday and funeral on Monday will be held at St. Augustine Church in Ritzer's hometown.

Students and staff at Danvers High School also finally returned to classes on Friday, three days after the 24-year-old math teacher was murdered at the school. Ritzer was in her second year of teaching at Danvers High.

Local officials said Thursday night the main goal was to try to regain a sense of normalcy in the wake such tragedy.

The teenage student accused of murdering his teacher and dumping her body on the school grounds will be held without bail.

Philip Daniel Chism, 14, is charged with first-degree murder and will be tried as an adult. Chism pleaded not guilty in Salem District Court on Wednesday.

Ritzer's body was found in the woods behind the high school Tuesday night, according to District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

Police began searching for Ritzer after a call came in at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday saying she hadn't come home and wasn't answering her cell phone. Authorities found blood in a second-floor bathroom at the high school, sparking a wider search.

Court documents from the suspect's arraignment say prosecutors have surveillance video of the teacher going into the bathroom. Five minutes later, the suspect went into that bathroom.

Those who knew Ritzer described her as having "grace and compassion beyond her years." Her students have joined the outpouring of grief for their teacher. On Wednesday night, students and parents and faculty gathered for a vigil in honor of Ritzer.

Here, in reverse chronological order, are all our posts on this subject.

Follow Danvers Patch on Twitter at @DanversPatch for the latest.

Barbara Goodsen October 25, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Some of these comments show one thing at least: some ppl have a lot of time in their hands.
Sherri October 27, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Mark - love your comment that the US was founded by "europeans". Oh, you are so racist! The US territory was already inhabited by native Americans - Indians - which the "Europeans" slaughtered and stole their land. This tragic murder in Danvers is horrific and anyone ranting about race is doing a great injustice to the families involved (yes, there are 2 families that are suffering), friends, students and faculty. My sincere condolence to the family of Collen Ritzer and to the family of Daniel Chism who are struggling to understand why. They are all in my prayers.
Acajudi October 31, 2013 at 10:01 AM
We need to send these killers to sweep for bombs in the Middle East!
Acajudi October 31, 2013 at 10:12 AM
I agree with Singapore, so when you kill, you die!


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