Police say Mass. student murdered teacher after school

Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013 @ 10:17 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 @ 10:17 PM

New details have emerged about the murder of a Massachusetts teacher. Police say 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer was stabbed to death by one of her students after school.

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Ritzer, a popular math teacher at Danvers High School, was found dead in a wooded area behind the school Tuesday night. (Via NBC)

One of her students, 14-year-old Philip Chism, was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday afternoon. Police say Chism stabbed Ritzer to death with a box cutter in a school bathroom. (Via Fox News)

Chism, who recently moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee, was described by students as a shy but likeable individual.

“He’s quiet, just kept to himself. I mean, probably because he’s new to this society. But I mean, he’s a good kid. He didn’t seem like anything bad. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a quiet, normal kid.” (Via CNN)

According to The Boston Globe, on the day of the murder, Ritzer asked Chism to stay after school to discuss an upcoming test. Police have not speculated on a motive for the murder.

After Ritzer was killed, police say Chism dumped her body in the woods behind the school before skipping out on soccer practice to see the film “Blue Jasmine.” (Via ABC)

Both Chism and Ritzer were declared missing persons as of Tuesday night, and worried students conducted a lengthy search for Chism.

Police eventually found Chism walking along a highway Wednesday morning. Police arrested Chism after interviewing him and reviewing surveillance video from the scene of the crime. (Via CBS)

Students and friends paid tribute to Ritzer’s life at a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening.

“She was just a great lady and an amazing, inspiring teacher.” (Via WFXT)

Chism will be tried as adult in this case. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder Wednesday, and a judge granted his attorney’s request for a mental competence evaluation. Chism is being held without bail.

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‘It’s a mess’: Butler County residents pumping water out of homes

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 1:10 PM

            The Seven Mile Fire Department in Butler County was busy Thursday morning pumping water out of homes on Taylor School Road. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Several residents on Taylor School Road in Seven Mile were cleaning up debris from Wednesday’s storm as firefighters from Seven Mile and St. Clair Twp. pumped thousands of gallons of water out of flooded basements.

BUTLER COUNTY STORM DAMAGE: Flooded fields, homes

Ben Johnson, who lives on Taylor School Road, said he felt “shear panic” as the storms blew through, flooding his basement, destroying appliances and knocking out a door in the basement. He lost a washer, dryer, refrigerator, video games and couch.

“Everything in the basement is gone,” he said after putting on waders.

PHOTOS: Aftermath of destructive storms, tornadoes

He said watching some of his boys’ toys float out of the garage was the most difficult.

“That made it hit pretty hard,” he said.

Johnson tried to get his garage door down to stop the water from entering his garage. He said the rushing water blew the garage door in and collapsed an interior wall.

“We got out and watched it come in,” said Johnson, who spent Wednesday night with relatives.

MORE: Intense storms produce tornadoes in the region

He has lived on the street for eight years and said the storm and flood damage were the worst he has ever seen.

“It’s a mess,” he said of the inside of his home. “An in-ground swimming pool.”

He’s thankful his wife and two sons, Wyatt, 6, and Hank, 2, were not injured.

Johnson doesn’t have flood insurance. When asked what was next, he said: “Hope. You got to fix it one way or another.”

The American Red Cross Cincinnati Region also provided emergency personnel and residents food and water.

Springboro school board accuses member of ‘colluding’ against board

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

            The letter read by Dave Stuckey, at left, the president of the Springboro school board, accused member Lisa Babb, at center, of colluding with a former employee.

The Springboro school board accused Board Member Lisa Babb of “colluding” with the district’s former communications coordinator in creation of a letter and petition that were to be presented to the board Wednesday night.

Board President Dave Stuckey read the statement criticizing Babb as the board, including Babb, sat in anticipation of comments about issues raised in the letter and petition circulated online in the days leading to the meeting.

RELATED: Parents group pressing Springboro school board

Stuckey referred to a May 12 email:

“It shows that Lisa Babb has been an active participant, undermining the board, compromising the board and administration integrity. She has abused her powers as a board member and she has made a coordinated effort to collude with former employee Karen DeRosa, the district’s former communication coordinator.

MORE: Election could end divisive era on Springboro school board

About two hours later, during the board comments portion of the meeting, Babb said she agreed with the letter and petition calling for better communication, but was not “behind” the efforts.

“These are some things I have been bringing up for months,” she said.

Stuckey also said the email was the latest example of behavior by Babb “overstepping” board conduct rules and Ohio ethics law, revealing confidential conversations from executive sessions and forwarding emails with confidential information to her personal email, violating student and parent confidentiality regulations.

“The district has no way to protect the privacy of families once that has occurred,” Stuckey said.

MORE: Conflict shadows Springboro schools success

The board has completed two training sessions related to this issue, Stuckey said.

“Yet, Mrs. Babb has continued to step beyond appropriate boundaries and taken this to a new level,” he added, distracting the board and costing taxpayers money.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Lawrence Budd on Twitter

Babb said she had stopped sending district email home after being advised by Treasurer Terrah Floyd and described other parts of Stuckey’s statement as “very misleading.”

Although Babb said she had been asked to resign before the meeting, “I’m not stepping down from the board.”

DeRosa acknowledged that she helped set up the email account through which the group was formed and names gathered on the petition.

“My heart really went out to these families,” she said on Thursday, while supporting the call for improved communications.

Stuckey issued the board statement before “prearranged” speakers addressed the board during the meeting.

15 people trapped, rescued from high water at Sebald Park in Butler Co.

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 11:30 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 3:20 AM

UPDATE @ 3:21 a.m. 05/25/17

Those trapped in the park included a pregnant woman and people with medical issues, according to Madison Twp. Fire Department Chief Kent Hall.

“Flood waters had went over the bridge area,” Hall said. “Had several family members, small kids (and) adults that were still in the park area. The issue here is we really couldn’t leave them in the park.”

The only way out of the park was through a large wooded area that connected to the golf course, Hall said. 

Firefighters located family and the kids that were trapped, and escorted them through the wooded area back through Weatherwax Golf Course, Hall said.

“They had to make their way up the hill, down the hill then through the woods,” he said. “You had to know this area well to be able to accomplish this very dark very thick wooded area. So you definitely had to have somebody who knew where they were going.”

A couple of minor injuries reported, according to Hall.  

“It all ended well,” he said. “We were able to get them out due to the experience of the firefighters with the department.”


Firefighters rescued 15 people, eight adults and seven children, after high water trapped them at Sebald Park in Madison Twp., Butler County Wednesday. 


Crews said high water cut off access to a bridge in the park, trapping multiple people in the high water. 

RELATED: Man in vehicle, trapped in high water, is rescued in Preble County

Madison Twp. firefighters said in a Facebook post the group went to the park earlier in the day for a birthday party. 

There were no reports of injuries. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

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A few isolated storms by afternoon

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 3:49 AM

Some sunshine sneaking through the broken clouds. Highs around 70 then falling into the low 60s for the evening, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.

Isolated downpours are still out there for lunch and there will be an increase in them from about 3 to 7 p.m. We can't rule out an isolated storm. Tonight clouds decrease and we drop into the middle 50s.

RELATED: Download the WHIO Weather App here


  • Isolated downpours or thunderstorms into the evening commute
  • Dry Friday during the day
  • More strong storms possible Saturday

RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts 


RELATED: Heavy damage from Wednesday’s storms in Park Layne

Friday: Quiet and dry for the start of the day. Some sunshine for the afternoon with highs in the middle to upper 70s. Some passing showers or storms overnight.

RELATED: WHIO Interactive Radar

Saturday: Some dry time in the morning then after lunch scattered storms will develop. These have the potential to become severe from the afternoon into early evening. It will be hot and humid with a high of 80 and dew points in the 60s.

RELATED: Sky Witness 7 

Sunday: Scattered showers and storms move through the first half of the day as a front moves through. Eastern parts of the Miami Valley might still have a few storms around late in the afternoon. Everyone will start to dry out by the evening. It will be muggy once again with highs near 80 degrees again. 

Memorial Day: Sunshine and scattered clouds with highs reaching the middle 70s. Another quick-moving front will approach the area that could trigger a few showers or storms towards the evening. 

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