Soft-spoken teen accused of killing Mass. teacher

Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 @ 1:43 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 @ 4:49 PM

A well-liked teacher was found dead in woods behind this quiet town's high school, and a 14-year-old boy who was found walking along a state highway overnight was charged with killing her.

Blood found in a second-floor school bathroom helped lead investigators to the body of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School who was reported missing when she didn't come home from work on Tuesday, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.

"She was a very, very respected, loved teacher," Blodgett said.

The suspect, Philip Chism, was arraigned on a murder charge Wednesday and ordered held without bail. Officials haven't released a cause of death.

The teenager, described by classmates as soft-spoken and pleasant, also did not come home from school the day before and was spotted walking along the road in a neighboring town at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Prosecutors said in court that Chism beat Ritzer to death.

A court filing said Ritzer and Chism were known to each other from the high school, but it did not elaborate. The arrest was made based on statements by the suspect and corroborating evidence at multiple scenes, investigators said in court documents.

Ritzer's family said they are mourning the death of their "amazing, beautiful daughter and sister."

"Everyone that knew and loved Colleen knew of her passion for teaching and how she mentored each and every one of her students," the family said in a statement provided by her uncle Dale Webster.

At his arraignment in adult court, Chism's defense attorney argued for the proceeding to be closed and her client to be allowed to stay hidden because of his age. The judge denied the request. The lawyer, Denise Regan, declined to comment outside court.

The tall, lanky teenager had moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee before the start of the school year and was a top scorer on the school's junior varsity soccer team, said Kyle Cahill, a junior who also plays soccer. He said the team had been wondering where Chism was when he skipped a team dinner Tuesday night.

"We're all just a family. It just amazes me really," Cahill said. "He wasn't violent at all. He was really the opposite of aggressive."

Ryan Kelleher, a senior, said students related to the young teacher, who liked to wear jeans and UGG boots just like the teenagers she taught. Kelleher, who also plays soccer, said the arrest of the soft-spoken Chism didn't make sense to him.

All public schools in Danvers, about 20 miles (30 kilometers)north of Boston, were closed Wednesday.

Ritzer is the second teacher allegedly killed by a student in the U.S. this week. A Sparks, Nevada, middle school teacher was allegedly shot by a 12-year-old student on Monday.

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Associated Press writer Lynne Tuohy in Andover and news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York City contributed to this report.

Manchester explosion: Ariana Grande's mother reportedly helps fans to safety 

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 3:33 PM

As fans and others around the world continue to try to make sense of the aftermath of the explosion outside Manchester Arena Monday night after an Ariana Grande concert, hero stories are beginning to emerge.

>> Read more trending news

According to TMZ, Ariana Grande’s mother, Joan, is among them.

The site reported that, according to multiple witnesses, Joan Grande was about to go backstage to see Ariana when the incident occurred. She told the group of 10 or so kids seated around her to come backstage.

>> Police: At least 22 dead after explosion near Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

Us Weekly, which  reported it confirmed the news through a source, said that the mother and members of Ariana Grande’s security team took the fans backstage and waited with them until they were cleared to exit the arena.

The attacker has been identified by officials as Salman Abedi, 22. The explosion injured more than 50 and killed 22, including an 8-year-old girl.

Manchester explosion: Here’s what we know about the victims

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 10:13 PM

Armed police stand guard at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig  in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Police says there are

Authorities continue  to sort out what happened Monday night when a man who police believe was a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device outside an arena in Manchester, England.

The explosion happened moments after the conclusion of a concert by pop star Ariana Grande.

At least 22 have been confirmed dead and 59 injured as of 2:30 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Here's what we know now about some of the victims:

Theresa May upgrades UK terror threat to highest possible level

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 9:41 PM

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23:  Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street after addressing the media (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Carl Court/Getty Images

In the wake of yesterday’s suicide bombing in Manchester, Prime Minister Theresa May has warned the United Kingdom that another attack may be “highly likely,” if not “imminent.” May also announced that the nation had raised the national terror threat level to its highest possible level: critical.

>> Read more trending news

The prime minister also announced that military units would be deployed alongside police to maintain order and public safety, the BBC reported. Armed service members will patrol concerts, sports matches and other high-priority targets to add additional security.

>> RELATED: President Trump won’t call terrorists monsters — he’s got a much harsher term for them

It is only the third time in history that the United Kingdom has formally raised the threat level in this manner. The threat level also reached critical in 2006 and 2007.

May and other politicians temporarily suspended campaigning in the wake of the suicide bombings. The United Kingdom is scheduled to vote on June 8, which is year, just two weeks from now.

The death toll stands at 22, with nearly 60 people still hospitalized.

Amanda Seyfried is in love with being mom

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 9:55 PM

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Actress Amanda Seyfried attends the premiere of

In March, Amanda Seyfried and husband, Thomas Sadoski, welcomed their first daughter together.

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And it’s been a dream come true for the new mother, according to a red carpet interview with E! Online.

“Man, I love being a mother... I love my family so much. I couldn’t, like, be more in awe of my life right now,” she told a reporter from the website at the debut for the “Twin Peaks” relaunch.

>> RELATED: It’s a girl for Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski, who just welcomed their first child together

One question is on everyone’s mind: When will we see the baby? Seyfried, of “Mean Girls,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Veronica Mars” and “Twin Peaks” stardom, has always kept her private life just that: private.

Even her wedding was witnessed by just a minister and her dog.

It seems as if it might be some time before we see pictures of her daughter, whose name we don’t even know yet. E! asked when to expect her to debut their baby, she said “I probably never will. I probably never will. She’s a secret.”