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.

Video captured by mom shows lightning bolt that nearly killed her son

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 11:26 PM

(Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
David Silverman/Getty Images
(Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)(David Silverman/Getty Images)

Video captured by Argentinian mother Carolina Kotur shows the moment her son was nearly struck by lightning as he played in their yard during a recent storm. Even with other tall objects apparently around him, the electricity seemed to aim right at him.

>> Read more trending news

The unnamed 12-year-old boy survived the near-strike, reports the Daily Mail. In the moments before the lightning bolt struck, the boy was playing with an umbrella and a drainpipe that was gushing water.

Kotur says she was inside comforting her daughter, who is frightened by such storms, when she began filming.

>> RELATED: Enormous bolt of lightning narrowly misses man as it smolders everything in its path

“It was morning. I was with my daughter in the room, calming her, because she is scared of lightning, said Kotur. “My son was walking in the rain and I started filming because I was making a joke, and right next to him the lightning struck.”

“Thank God, nothing happened to him,” she added.

The Daily Mail reports that the strong storm system has claimed the lives of people and livestock in Argentina and neighboring Paraguay.

Former President George W. Bush cracks joke, Obama gets the giggles during speech

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 10:42 PM

(L-R) Former United States Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama address the audience during the 'Deep from the Heart: The One America Appeal Concert' at Reed Arena on the campus of Texas A&M University on October 21, 2017 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Ford Motor Company)
Rick Kern/Getty Images for Ford Motor Comp
(L-R) Former United States Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama address the audience during the 'Deep from the Heart: The One America Appeal Concert' at Reed Arena on the campus of Texas A&M University on October 21, 2017 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Ford Motor Company)(Rick Kern/Getty Images for Ford Motor Comp)

Five former presidents joined forces to raise money at a hurricane relief benefit on Saturday, but it was George W. Bush’s whispered joke to Barack Obama that had the internet talking.

>> Read more trending news

Bush and Obama joined Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter for the “Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal” at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, to raise money for hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

While Clinton was speaking, the younger Bush leaned over and cracked a joke to Obama. Whatever he said must have been pretty funny because Obama couldn’t stop laughing, and the internet loved the lighthearted moment.

>> RELATED: Photos Of Obama, Clinton and George W. Bush hanging out together at golfing tournament emerge online

The moment had people on the internet weighing in on the exchange, and the reactions were as awesome as you’d expect.

Florida police find body of missing 3-year-old in water-holding tank

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 4:26 PM

Body Of Missing Toddler Found In Water-Holding Tank

Police say a 3-year-old boy from Arlington, Florida, who went missing Sunday while attending a birthday party with friends and family, was found hours later in an underground water-holding tank.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said Amari Harley was reported missing around 4:45 p.m. Sunday after family searched for him when they could not locate him at a large family gathering at Bruce Park in Jacksonville, Florida.

Investigators said they got a tip to check an underground water-holding tank inside the park, which they said is large enough for a small child to slip into. 

Once the tank was drained, investigators located the body of a small child that matched the description of Amari. Police announced that the boy's body had been found around 8:45 p.m.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the boy. 

“During the short investigation, we have attempted to make contact with everyone that was at the park during the time Amari went missing. We have spoken to numerous witnesses that were present. However, due to the size of the park and the multiple events going on at the time, we believe there are others that may have pertinent information that could assist detectives in this case,” authorities said. 

A spokesperson for Mayor Lenny Curry released a statement Monday saying the city is assisting in the investigation into Amari’s death.

The city will be also be investigating how Amari got into the water tank, according to the spokesperson.

“We are incredibly saddened by this tragedy. As JSO conducts its investigation, the city is assisting them by providing any information that will lead to a thorough and full review. The safety and security of visitors to city parks are paramount. The city will also be inspecting how this tragedy occurred, to ensure that all City parks are safe and secure,” the spokesperson said.

Amari’s loved ones told Action News Jax that they don’t understand how he got inside a water tank at the park.

City employees worked Monday to place new coverings on the tank.

Read more at ActionNewsJax.com

Taco Bell is testing Kit Kat quesadillas at some locations

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 8:18 PM

Some Taco Bell restaurants in Wisconsin are testing quesadillas with Kit Kats instead of savory cheese and chicken.
Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Taco Bell/Getty Images for Taco Bell
Some Taco Bell restaurants in Wisconsin are testing quesadillas with Kit Kats instead of savory cheese and chicken.(Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Taco Bell/Getty Images for Taco Bell)

Taco Bell is no stranger to unique food mashups, and the latest menu item the fast-food restaurant is testing is no different.

According to Mashable, the chain is testing the Kit Kat Chocoladilla. As its name may imply, the product is a flour tortilla with broken bits of melted Kit Kats inside. Brand Eating was among the first to report the new item.

>> Read more trending news

A representative for Taco Bell confirmed the item to Mashable. It’s being sold for $1.

Before heading out to the nearest Taco Bell to sample the treat, it’s worth noting that it is only being tested at a few locations. Taco Bell spokeswoman Emily Erskine told USA Today that the item is at select Wisconsin locations.

The item has been tested since Oct. 5. and will reportedly continue through mid-November. Other locations in the state have a Twix version, according to Brand Eating.

The item itself isn’t new to the chain. Taco Bell UK had the item last year.

The rep for Taco Bell told Mashable that “customer response” to the testing will determine if there will be Chocoladillas for all.