A teenager, charged with murder after his math teacher was found slashed to death with a box cutter, had hid out in the school with the weapon he stole from an art class, sources claimed tonight.
The body of Colleen Ritzer, 24, was found in woods behind Danvers High School on Wednesday morning after she was allegedly killed by 14-year-old student Philip Chism.
The small Massachusetts town paid tribute to the slain teacher on Wednesday night with hundreds of residents holding a candle-light vigil at the school where she died. Many students dressed in her favorite color pink and described her as a ‘brilliant ray of light’.
The community is desperately trying to understand what could have motivated such a senseless and brutal act.
Some details from Tuesday night’s tragic events have started to emerge with many students saying that the killer hid inside the school after class before killing Miss Ritzer.
It is believed that he used a craft knife stolen from an art classroom to attack the math teacher after forcing her into a second-floor bathroom.
One boy told how dedicated Miss Ritzer, who had been a teaching assistant up until 12 months ago, had only stayed late in school because she wanted to mark quizzes she had given out to her students that day.
The student said: ‘She was such a great teacher and she worked really hard. She had set some math quizzes that day and I guess she had stayed late to mark them.’
‘Apparently the boy hid in school after class, he didn’t go home at all. Then I heard he forced her into the bathroom and attacked her with a knife from the art room.’
‘People are saying he then dragged her down the stairs and got rid of her body in a recycling bin. No one has any idea why he did it. It is a tragedy.’
Other students, who played soccer with accused 14-year-old Chism, said that he was a really nice boy but incredibly shy and hard to get to know.
One said: ‘He was nice, but really quiet. No one really knew him that well. Apparently when he was arrested he was unresponsive and barely said anything at all.’
‘Nothing like this has ever happened in Danvers before. No one can believe what is going on.’
Students told WCVB that Miss Ritzer was a brilliant ray of light who was dedicated to her students.
Danvers Superintendent Lisa Dana told the crowd: ‘We will work together to see that Miss Ritzer’s legacy is defined not by one day or one person but by the many lives that she impacted.’
Police sources earlier revealed that Chism was seen on surveillance footage dragging a recycling bin with Miss Ritzer’s body through the halls of the high school and dumping her remains in the woods near campus.
In a bizarre twist, WCVB-TV today reported that after the gruesome killing, Chism walked to Hollywood Hits theaters in Danvers and watched Woody Allen’s latest film Blue Jasmine – a movie about a middle-aged woman’s mental breakdown. Miss Ritzer’s phone was later found near the movie theater.
Beloved math teacher Miss Ritzer, 24, was reported missing by her family when she didn’t come home from school on Tuesday night. When police went to search the school, they found a bathroom covered in blood.
Students flooded social media with an outpouring of grief over the murder, describing the teacher as dedicated and bright.
Chism appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon where he was charged as an adult in Miss Ritzer’s murder.
Arrest records say Chism is 6’2 and is 140 pounds. A police report indicated that he and Miss Ritzer knew each other from school and that she had taught the 14-year-old.
WBZ-TV reported that the teenager is from Tennessee and had recently moved to Danvers.
The Boston Globe reports that he appeared to have made friends in his short time in Danvers and had joined that school’s soccer team.
Administrators shut down all schools in the district on Wednesday as the murder investigation continued and students struggled to cope with the horrifying news.
The investigation began on Tuesday night after Chism’s parents called police when he didn’t return home from school.