UPDATE: Meet Philip Chism, The Teen Accused Of Killing Danvers High School Teacher Colleen Ritzer; Box Cutter Was Murder Weapon, Judge Approves Mental Evaluation

on October 23 2013 8:07 PM
Colleen Ritzer
Colleen Ritzer, 24, was allegedly murdered by Danvers High School student Philip Chism. Facebook

Update as of 5:10 a.m. EDTAccording to a Fox News report, Phillip Chism admitted to police that he followed Colleen Ritzer into a women's bathroom at the school and punched her in the face before killing her with a box cutter. The 14-year-old student then put Ritzer's body into a recycling bin to bring it to the woods near the school, the report said.

The Salem District Court judge denied Chism's attorney's request for court proceedings to be closed and her client to stay hidden owing to his age, but approved a motion for a mental evaluation, the report said, citing the Boston Herald.

Meet Philip Chism, the Danvers High School student accused of murdering 24-year-old math teacher Colleen Ritzer. Massachusetts police say they have linked the 14-year-old to the murder through surveillance video and his own words, NBC News wrote Wednesday. Chism was charged by the Essex district attorney as an adult Wednesday during his arraignment at Salem District Court, Foxnews.com reported.

Chism was new to the school after moving to Danvers from Tennessee, NBC News said, but that didn’t stop him from getting a spot on the junior varsity soccer squad.

"He just moved here so he didn't have like a huge group of friends. But soccer's one big family so we all knew him, we all liked him," student Ryan Kelleher, told ABC News.

Still, the 6-foot-2 “just kept to himself” at soccer practice, Kyle Cahill, another player on the soccer team, said. "[There was] nothing really bad about him. He wasn't a mean kid, did fine," Cahill added. "[This] just came out of the blue. [It's] just surreal and surprising to me."

Mitchell Bussone, 17, was one of the students looked for Chism when it was revealed he was missing Tuesday night after the murder. He was shocked to hear the freshman was a suspect. “A lot of us welcomed him in. He fit in and we liked him. He seemed like a normal kid,” he said

Chism was held without bail on Wednesday at his arraignment in Salem. Authorities "learned from an interview of the juvenile suspect and video surveillance recovered at the school" that the accused assailant killed Ritzer and then dumped her body in the woods behind the school.

The teacher was found just after midnight after blood was found in a second-floor bathroom at the school, according to authorities. It’s not clear why Chism apparently attacked Ritzer, but the murder is being called a “terrible tragedy” by Jonathan Blodgett, the Essex County district attorney who told reporters that Ritzer “was a very, very respected, loved teacher.”

"Based on his statements and the corroborating evidence found at multiple scenes at the Danvers High School and surrounding wooded area, [he] was subsequently placed into custody and booked for murder," NBC News quoted the complaint. 

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