Collen Ritzer, the 24-year-old math teach that was found dead earlier in the week, may have been murdered by a 14-year-old student.

Ritzer’s body was discovered on Wednesday in a wooded area in Danvers, Mass., near Danvers High School. The suspected murderer, Philip Chism, had been reported missing on Tuesday evening and was seen walking down a street in a neighboring town on Wednesday at 12:20 a.m, reported CBS news.

An investigation was launched into Ritzer’s whereabouts late Tuesday night when she did not return from work or answer her cellphone. When police searched the school grounds, they found blood in a bathroom on the building’s second floor. From there, the investigative team were led to the woods where they found Ritzer’s body.

The teacher’s family has released a statement asking for privacy. "At this time we are mourning the tragic death of our amazing, beautiful daughter and sister," it read. "Everyone that knew and loved Colleen knew of her passion for teaching and how she mentored each and every one of her students."


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All Danvers’ public schools were closed on Wednesday. The school addressed Ritzer’s untimely death in a statement that recalled the incredible influence she had on those she taught. “Ritzer had been a well-liked teacher at Danvers High School who went out of her way to connect with her students,” their statement read.

Ritzer had kept an active Twitter account devoted to reminding her students about homework, as well as offering words of encouragement and sharing anecdotes about her daily life.

Chism has been charged with Ritzer’s murder in Salem District Court. He’s being held without bail.

– Chelsea Regan

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