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October 23, 2013

Update: Danvers High teacher's slaying tied to case of missing teen

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, however, that 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.

We will update this story here at gloucestertimes.com as more information becomes available. To have text updates regarding this story and other breaking news coverage sent to your mobile phone, sign up for the Times’ free text-alert service on the gloucestertimes.com homepage.

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