Home / National News / Mass. Teen Charged with Teacher's Death 'Born in Love,' Mom Says


(DANVERS, Mass.) — The mother of a Massachusetts teenager charged with the stabbing death of a beloved high school math teacher is broken-hearted over the woman’s death, according to a statement released by her son’s attorney.

Diana Chism asked for prayers for the family of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, saying her “heart is broken for the Ritzer family and the loss of their daughter and sister,” the statement said.

Chism also sought for prayers for her 14-year-old son, Philip Chism, who was charged with her murder.

“Ms. Chism would like you to know that her son was born in love and is dear to her, very dear,” said the statement released by defense attorney Denise Regan.  “She asks that you know that she cares for the world’s hurt over this and greatly hopes for your prayers for the Ritzer family, the Danvers community, for her son, and all those affected by this tragedy.”

Ritzer’s funeral is scheduled to take place Monday morning at St. Augustine Church in Andover, her hometown.

Philip was charged as an adult and held without bail for allegedly murdering Ritzer on Wednesday.  A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 22.

After reviewing surveillance video at the school and interviewing Philip, police said they learned that the 14-year-old stabbed Ritzer and then dumped her body in the woods behind the campus.

Police discovered Ritzer’s blood in a second-floor bathroom late Tuesday night before her body was later found behind the school, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.

Blodgett declined to say what the motive might have been.

“The teacher was reported missing and as a result of that, and her not answering her cellphone, police instituted a search and found blood,” he said.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News there is surveillance video inside the high school that shows the student hauling Ritzer’s body from the bathroom toward the woods in what appeared to be a recycle bin.  The school is a new building and is equipped with 130 cameras, officials said.

“She was a very respected, loved teacher,” said Blodgett.  “At 24 years of age it’s a terrible tragedy for the entire Danvers community.”

Ritzer was described by her students as an “amazing teacher.”

Her passion for her students shined through on her Twitter account, where she described herself as a “math teacher often too excited about the topics I’m teaching.”

Ritzer’s family released a statement mourning their “beautiful daughter and sister.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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