Police find teacher's body outside Mass. high school

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by ABC News

WHAS11.com

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 2:47 PM

DANVERS, Mass. (ABC News) –  A beloved Massachusetts high school math teacher was stabbed to death by a 14-year-old student who then dumped her body in the woods behind the school, police said today.

The teen, whose name was not disclosed because he is a juvenile, faces arraignment in Essex County Juvenile Court where he is charged with killing math teacher Colleen Ritzer.

Law enforcement sources said Ritzer, 24, was stabbed to death.

"She was a very respected, loved teacher," said Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. "At 24 years of age it's a terrible tragedy for the entire Danvers community."

Police discovered Ritzer's blood in a second floor bathroom late Tuesday night before her body was later found behind the school, Blodgett said. Blodgett declined to say what the motive might have been.

"The teacher was reported missing and as a result of that, and her not answering her cell phone, police instituted a search and found blood," Blodgett said.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News there is surveillance video inside the high school that shows the student dragging Ritzer's body from the bathroom toward the woods in what appeared to be a recycle bin. The school is a new building and is equipped with 130 cameras, officials said.

All public schools in Danvers were closed today.

The suspect, who law enforcement sources say had recently moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee, had been reported missing Tuesday after he failed to return home from school. He was found Tuesday night in a neighboring community.

Several student athletes at Danvers High School told ABC News the suspect was a junior varsity soccer player and said they had searched for him when they found out he was reported missing.

Ritzer was described by her students as an "amazing teacher."

Her passion for her students shined through on her Twitter account, where she described herself as a "math teacher often too excited about the topics I'm teaching."

Earlier this week police in Danvers, a community north of Boston, had sent well wishes via Twitter to Sparks, Nev., after a school teacher was killed there by a student.

"Thoughts are with those families affected by the Sparks Middle School Shooting today & especially with 1st responders from Sparks PD," according to the Danvers Police Department Twitter feed.

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