The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

October 23, 2013

Student charged in high school teacher's murder

DANVERS, Mass. — A high school math teacher in suburban Boston was murdered Tuesday night, and a 14-year-old student has been charged in her death.

Classes today were cancelled in Danvers, about 20 miles north of Boston, as police investigated the murder of Colleen Ritzer, 24, who was in her second year of teaching at Danvers High School. A portion of the school was marked off as a crime scene.

A 14-year-old student, Philip Chism, was charged with her murder in adult court Wednesday afternoon and held without bail.

Chism was the subject of a public alert by Danvers police Tuesday afternoon when he didn't return home from school. A soccer player, Chism had recently moved to Danvers from Tennessee.

Police later received a report, at 11:20 p.m., that Ritzer had not returned to her home in nearby Andover and was not answering her cell phone, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said during a press conference Wednesday.

Police went to Danvers High School and found blood in a second-floor bathroom. A search of the area turned up Ritzer's body in woods near the school.

"It is apparent she was a homicide victim," Blodgett said.

Police found Chism and took him into custody just after midnight. He was walking north in the southbound lane of a busy highway.

Police determined from talking to Chism, and watching school surveillance footage, that he had killed the teacher and disposed of her body near the school, according to documents filed in court. The report offered no details of how she was killed or of a possible motive.

Ritzer attended Andover High School, graduating in 2007. She graduated from Assumption College, in Worcester, Mass., in 2011, and she began teaching at Danvers High in September 2012.

She maintained a Twitter account at @msritzermath, where she posted homework assignments and described herself as "a math teacher often too excited about the topics I'm teaching."

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • Report: Iowa third among states in child well-being DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new national report on the well-being of children ranks Iowa third in the nation, up four places from last year. The Kids Counts report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Iowa ranks first among all states

    July 22, 2014

  • MHP designated a Blue Zones Worksite OSKALOOSA — Blue Zones Project Oskaloosa today announced Mahaska Health Partnership has been named a designated Blue Zones Worksite. Mahaska Health Partnership was designated after completing the necessary items in the Blue Zones Project worksite ple

    July 22, 2014

  • 072214 Medics Skills Photo Local medics advance skills

    Six EMTs from Mercy Medical Center have completed the work necessary to become paramedics.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eddyville gets $1M federal grant for flood project EDDYVILLE, Iowa (AP) — The city of Eddyville is getting more than $1 million to improve its stormwater handling system to protect the city from Des Moines River flooding. The funding, announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, comes from the Federa

    July 22, 2014

  • Art show photo 2 Young artists show work at Oskaloosa Art Center

    OSKALOOSA—Several pieces of art were on display at the Oskaloosa Art Center Friday featuring works by kids in local elementary schools. The artists include those from Kindergarten through eighth grade. Briana Bartlett, who teaches art for elementary

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Fundraiser for soldiers' families approaching

    CENTERVILLE — Justin Zaputil remembers when Master Sgt. Travis Riddick died. The common reactions didn’t feel right. Mourning and then moving on left something undone. It didn’t seem to accomplish what Zaputil and a handful of others wanted. It didn’

    July 21, 2014

  • 072114 Howard Service Photo 2 Hundreds attend Howard graveside services Several hundred men, women and children attended the 11 a.m. Saturday graveside services for Moulton native Staff Sgt. Robert E. “Bobby” Howard at Sunset View Cemetery north of Moulton.Pastor Brian Hargrave officiated. Hargrave talked about why we co

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Patrick Edouard Supreme Court overturns Edouard appeal

    The Iowa Supreme Court has overruled the state appeals court decision on whether a former Pella pastor could be convicted on charges of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Zones photo Blue Zones hold cooking demonstration at farmers' market

    OSKALOOSA — Two local chefs gave a cooking demonstration at the Oskaloosa Farmers’ Market Tuesday afternoon to show just what you can do with produce you buy there. Renee Edgar and Michael Glesener set up a portable kitchen on the east side of the cit

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suit: Nursing home not providing information KEOSAUQUA — Plaintiffs in a suit against an area nursing home have accused the defendants of dragging their heels in providing required information. The case involves the family of Mary Sprouse, who died after a fall at the Good Samaritan Society’s f

    July 17, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National