Teacher Found Dead Behind School, 14-Year-Old Facing Murder Charges

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 23 2013 10:52 AM

High School Teacher Found Dead Behind School, 14-Year-Old Facing Murder Charges


File photo by David McNew/Getty Images

A 24-year-old high school math teacher was found dead overnight Tuesday behind a public school roughly a half-hour outside Boston. Police said this morning that an unnamed 14-year-old boy faces a murder charge in her death.

It's the latest sad story in a week that began with a 12-year-old boy in Nevada gunning down a teacher on school grounds. Here's the Boston Globe with what we know about the Massachusetts case:

Colleen Ritzer’s body was found in the woods behind [Danvers High School], said Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. Citing state law, Blodgett did not name the suspect. The suspect had been reported missing Tuesday after he did not return home from school.
Ritzer was reported missing at about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday when she did not return home and did not answer her cellphone. Blood was found in a second-floor bathroom of the school. Ritzer’s body was found later behind the school, Blodgett said. “She was a very, very, respected, loved teacher. ... It’s a terrible tragedy for the entire Danvers community,” Blodgett said.

Police say that they found the missing student walking alongside Route 1 at 12:30 a.m. and took him into custody. He is set to be arraigned later today in juvenile court. Police say that they haven't yet decided whether they will charge him as an adult. "We are going to take a hard look at that, obviously," Blodgett said. Citing state laws that protect juveniles, the police aren't releasing many details of the ongoing case, declining to comment whether the suspect knew Ritzer or how the 24-year-old died.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 


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