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October 23, 2013

Danvers teacher murdered; 14-year-old student arraigned

DANVERS —

A 24-year-old Danvers High School teacher from Andover was found dead in a wooded area behind the school, killed by a 14-year-old, officials said this morning. 

Officials aren't saying at this point how Colleen Ritzer was killed, and are not confirming the identity of the assailant. 

However, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said the discovery of Ritzer's body was linked to another investigation into that of a missing teenager. 

That teenager, Phillip Chism, was found at around 12:30 a.m. walking on Route 1 in Topsfield and was taken into custody by police. 

Citing a state law, Blodgett would not specifically state that Chism is the suspect in Ritzer's death. 

He said a 14-year-old suspect will be arraigned in Salem Juvenile Court later today on a charge of murder. 

Investigators began searching for Ritzer last night after she did not return home and did not answer her phone. The school was secured, said Blodgett, and blood was found in a second-floor bathroom. 

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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