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Student Says Chism Upset By Teacher's Mention of 'Tennessee'

Court records released Friday in the murder case against Philip Chism also include summaries of interviews with Danvers High Principal, two students and Chism's mother.

A search warrant, warrant application and related affidavit were unsealed on Friday.
A search warrant, warrant application and related affidavit were unsealed on Friday.
Court records released Friday in the murder case against Philip Chism also include summaries of interviews with Danvers High Principal Susan Ambrozavitch, two juvenile students and Chism's mother, none of them indicating they ever suspected the heinous acts that had occurred at the time.

Colleen Ritzer was initially reported missing to Danvers police around 11:20 p.m. on Oct. 22, prompting police and school administrators to search the high school, which is when they found evidence of foul play.

Ritzer's car was still parked out in the lot, her belongings were missing from her classroom and bloodstains were discovered in a second-floor bathroom.

In an affidavit, state police detective Robert LaBarge says he spoke with Ambrozavitch by phone the next evening. Ambrozavitch told him a parent (not Chism's mother) had called her around 6 p.m. on Oct. 22, saying Chism was seen running away from the school around 3:30 p.m. She told the woman to contact police.

Over the course of the next several hours, all anyone knew was that both Chism and Ritzer were missing, and that Chism's last class of the day was with Ritzer.

Police say they interviewed Diana Chism the morning of Oct. 23 and she confirmed she lived in an apartment at 10 Riverside St. (the home is owned by a relative) with her three children -- Philip and two other siblings.

She told investigators she was going through a "stressful divorce" with Philip's father Stacy Chism and that she and her children recently moved to Danvers from Tennessee.

No other information about that interview was contained in the court records, although various news outlets have reported that Diana Chism first filed for divorce several years ago but the couple never finalized the process in court.

LaBarge said police also interviewed two female students -- one of which was in the classroom with Ritzer and Chism shortly after school had ended.

That student, a freshman, told police she was getting extra work from Ritzer while Ritzer and Chism were talking about China. She said at one point, however, Ritzer mentioned Tennessee and she (the student) noticed it visibly upset Chism.

Ritzer, however, wasn't immediately aware of Chism' reaction, according to the student, and continued to talk about Tennessee. The student said Ritzer eventually realized Chism was upset and changed the topic.

The student told police she also observed Chism talking to himself in the classroom.

The other student interviewed actually walked into the bathroom shortly after Chism allegedly attacked Ritzer, based on surveillance footage.

She told officers 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.

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

He 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 the note, "I hate you all," which was found next to Ritzer's body.

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.
mark December 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM
They are facts! Prove me wrong Mr Liberal!
John December 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Harold, just because you happen to disagree with Mark's comments and views -- which is your right -- does not mean he should not be allowed to voice his opinions -- which is his right.
John December 31, 2013 at 11:50 AM
OK, so here we go. Now you're preaching to me that I don't understand "rights?" Beautiful. So, if you don't disagree with what Mark said (which is what you infer), why are you so upset with what he posted? Unless you work for the Patch, why do you care so much? Oh, that's right. It's because you, and you alone, are able to judge and decide what's "offensive" for everyone else based on your own views. Let the editors make the call whether or not what Mark posts violates their sensibilities and terms of service. He is entitled to his views and opinions, even if you, me, or anyone else don't necessarily share them.

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