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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.


Steven Hackbarth October 23, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Many teens struggle with math; some teachers are really strict, even wrongfully embarrassing students. Yet, no justification for violence of any kind. We have no clue what motivated this handsome dude, presuming he is guilty.
Steven Smith October 23, 2013 at 06:00 PM
The parents of this child/ criminal/murderer should as well be held accountable for bad parenting. There was obviously a problem and it went un-treated, Again bad parenting. And We the people of this USA are tired of hearing about all this bad news.
fred real October 23, 2013 at 06:16 PM
I know this crime is still being investigated or at least that's what has been reported but I have these questions: How was the accused boy/student able to get the slain teacher's body from a school restroom into nearby woods without this being noticed by anyone? If this was noticed by anyone why wasn't this at least reported to authorities? It has been reported that the accused did not become a suspect until later being reported missing. At what time did this henious crime occur? If the reason the transporting of the body wasn't noticed by anyone is because it happened at a time when the school building and grounds were deserted or nearly deserted then why were the accused student and slain teacher still in the building? Just wondering,
spinning wheels October 23, 2013 at 06:23 PM
I MAY SOUND RUFF,,,I AM SICK OF THIS CRAP ,,, MASS SHOOTING`S IN SCHOOL`S IN MOVIE`S ,,,ECT , ECT ,,, THIS IS ABSOLUTELY SICKENING,,, THE PARENTS OF TODAY ARE AH`S COMPLETELY AND SHOULD BE IN JAIL RIGHT NEXT TO THE ANIMAL THEY SPAWN OR BETTER STILL ( PUBLICLY EXECUTED RITE NEXT TO THEIR ANIMAL. ) I KNEW THAT THIS KIND OF KILLING WERE GOING TO HAPPEN,,, ( I HOPE THE TWO COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS THAT STARTED ALL THIS SICKNESS ARE ROTTING IN HELL , THEIR PARENTS SHOULD BE RITE NEXT TO THEM )
Bob Miller October 23, 2013 at 06:38 PM
When are Al and Jesse getting there, so they tell us how misunderstood this poor innocent child is?
mommatocharlie October 23, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Now that this boy's mental status is being looked into, I am afraid that, even though he has pleaded not guilty, that he will change that to not guilty due to mental defect or disease. This was a much loved teacher, at the beginning of her career. What kind of lessons did this boy learn at home? I hope he is given much more than a slap on the wrist in this case, especially if the surveillance photos show him doing something to the teacher.
Anthony Turreto October 23, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Wonder if Al and Jesse will have anything to say about this one? Doubtful.
Michael Smith October 23, 2013 at 07:57 PM
I saw the black boy on TV - it showed him in court being charged
Chris Helms (Editor) October 23, 2013 at 08:53 PM
This is Chris Helms. I'm an editor with Patch. I've deleted several racist comments on this thread. I know we have a national audience for this story, but if you comment here, please abide by our terms of service. http://danvers.patch.com/terms
K. S. C. October 24, 2013 at 08:08 AM
Mark, reading comments like yours just make me even more sad for our country. I do hope this comment is removed by the editors, and people continue to focus supporting a grieving community.
mark October 24, 2013 at 08:30 AM
What is support gonna do liberal K.S.c.? And what part of government do you work for? When I say government, I mean all areas tied to government, state, federal, municipal employees, media, healthcare industry, unions, real estate, banks and lobbyists! By the way do you want Danvers to look like Detroit? No Fear! We have the almighty P.O.S. Government to save us!
Buddy October 24, 2013 at 10:03 AM
Mark not the place for this but your right. Once Obama became President I've noticed. Go drive by the extended stay in Danvers someday. Its on centre st and route 1. I live near that place and see what goes on there every day. And its always in the police log for something.
gregory milling October 24, 2013 at 10:39 AM
we need to stop wasting resources .. turn him loose and turn our heads and someone will eliminate this crap from this planet.
mark October 24, 2013 at 10:50 AM
I'd like to know the background of this punk? Like where he lives? Are his parents or parent on welfare or living in a motel? EBT Cards for mother? Let's dig in and find the truth! I have a gut instinct on this one!
ATLgoofball October 24, 2013 at 11:22 AM
For being in the liberal north - Boston is just as or more racist than anywhere in the south.
james thomas October 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM
bottom line here is a beautiful teacher goes to work to help kids like him and what happens she never comes home so sad and we all know what the courts will do right? ok little boy let us help you as they lock him up in a beautiful hospital with free food and anything else he will need for maybe 15yrs then back out on the street by 30yrs old this time bigger and stronger till kill again bottom line its a joke there is no way in hell this kid spends more than 15 yrs in jail or a hospital no justice will be done SO SAD
thriller October 24, 2013 at 09:02 PM
WHAT KLAN MEMBERS ARE YOU ..WE CAN TELL A YOUNG WOMAN IS KILLED AND YOU BLAMED THE POTUS . HE'SYOUR PRESIDENT TOO. I FEEL SORY FOR THIS TEACHER AN HER FAMILY AND ILSO FEEL SORRY FOR THIS YOUNG MAN'S FAMILY. BECAUSE HE IS IN SO MUC TROUBLE AND HE WILL GET LIFE WITH OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE . SUCH A SAD TURN OF EVENTS. DAUGHTER , AND A SON LIFE IS TAKEN SOMETHING IS HORRIBLE WRONG WITH OUR KIDS AND WE ARE TOO INVOLVED IN CALLING OBAMA NAME TO SEE THAT TOO MANY HORRENDOUS THINGSHAVE BEN HAPPENING TO OUR CHILDREN IT'S TIME TO PULL OUR HEADS OUT OF OUR ASS AND PROTECT OUR YOUNG
thriller October 24, 2013 at 09:03 PM
SORRY ABOUT TYPOS
mark October 24, 2013 at 10:53 PM
All I want to know is the background of this kid and his family, I want to know if the usurped government has their dirty hands in this in placing him in Danvers and supporting his family with welfare, EBT, or any government programs! As taxpayers we have the right to know and hold those in government accountable Mr Liberal Editor!
Marey Gilles October 24, 2013 at 11:16 PM
I have read all the comments "racist" and normal ones. Here is the real issue. A beautiful young lady(whether white, hispanic, asian or black was brutally murdered).A young teen(whether black, white, hispanic or asian) has "Allegedly" murdered her. Let US ALL stop and Pray for her family. And yes pray for his famiy too. Put yourself in a mom's place whose son has just been "accused" of a heinous crime. I am not condoning, I am not feeling sorry for him either. But be mindful of what the real blog is about. Not venting against Obama, Al, Jesse. Not venting about race. The blog is about reporting a crime. PRAY for Colleen Ritzer's Family. Pray that the "RIGHT" answers are found. Too many holes in this story, there is definitely more to it.
Marey Gilles October 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM
This is a response to an earlier comment.......Really !!!!! Are his parents or parent on welfare or living in a motel? EBT Cards for mother? (WHY would his parents be on welfare because he has a tanned skin? Did U ever think he may be hispanic, black/white, mixed race???? I have a gut instinct on this one! (here is my gut instinct U R a racist.LOL) . Oh, by the way I am a social worker and there are far more white people in the welfare office than black. Take a look sometimes. Open your eyes , U will actually be surprised!!! Everything is not black and white in this world.
mark October 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Well Mary it is black people doing the killing here and the store owner in Malden and in Boston killings every day and our lovely government is moving them with HUD programs to our neighborhoods while we pay everything we make to pay mortgages and phony taxes, now we got to be murdered by these people! Let them stay in the hood and kill each other!
mark October 24, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Ha ha! Mary is a social worker, a government industry! By the way Hispanic is not white! They kill each other too! Look at Columbia! We don't want to live with these people but you people in government keep letting them in our country that Europeans founded! You social workers and your worthless 35k a year job! social workers are worthless! They are an extension of the P.O.S. Government!
Marey Gilles October 24, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Hmmmm, interesting . So Newton, Conn massacre. Officials confirm 28 deaths including 20 children in shooting at Sandy Hooks Oklahoma bombing were done by .............guess what . Not "these people". Again, it is not color I am talking about. It is very simple "Mental Illness" untreated, undetected. 12 year old kills self and math teacher. 14 yr old has "Allegedly" killed teacher. None of this sounds SANE. !!!!!! oh, least we forget Aurora, CO again......"not these people"..... ALL Races have their flaws- Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Puerto Rican.... ALL people have flaws- mental that have them acting out . So more to killing than just being black.......
mark October 24, 2013 at 11:44 PM
The school shooting in Connecticut was caused by worthless social workers and doctors not diagnosing his mental illness! And the Timothy McVeigh bombing in Oklahoma City was retaliation against the Federal Government for the murders of innocent women and children in Waco Texas
mark October 25, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Mary the liberal social worker said the 14 year old boy was mentally ill. Well I don't think that a mentally ill person would be smart enough to use a box cutter along the throat to sever her artery then go find a recycle bin to put her body in then move her outside and dump her in the woods! Doesn't sound like mental illness to me? More like premeditated murder by a well calculated killer! She told him to stay after class then he follow her to the bathroom and kills her! Sounds like a ghetto punk to me not mentally ill!
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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