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Local News

November 23, 2013

Documents released in Danvers teacher's death

Police: Note reading 'I hate you all' found next to teacher's body

DANVERS — The handwritten note found next to Colleen Ritzer’s partially buried body said, “I hate you all.”

It was written, police and prosecutors say, by 14-year-old Philip Chism, one of Ritzer’s freshman math students at Danvers High School.

Court documents released yesterday revealed that and other details of Ritzer’s Oct. 22 death, allegedly at the hands of Chism, who is also charged with raping and robbing the popular young teacher.

She was found, partially clothed, her throat slashed, her body violated, and covered in leaves and debris, in a wooded area near the school.

What no one can answer at this point is why Chism was so angry, angry enough, apparently, to bring a box cutter, ski mask and gloves, and several changes of clothing to school with him that day, according to the court documents.

The only hint that Chism may have been angry or upset that day came in a report from a fellow student who told police about hearing a conversation between Ritzer and Chism after school. They started out talking about China, the student said, and Ritzer then mentioned Chism’s home state of Tennessee, something that “visibly upset” the boy. The student said Ritzer changed the subject, but the student later noticed Chism talking to himself.

Chism, two siblings and their mother, Diana, had just moved from Tennessee to Massachusetts, where they were staying in a basement apartment in the Danversport home of her aunt, Alisha Leck. Diana Chism told police that she and her husband were going through a “stressful” divorce.

Chism had joined the soccer team, and has been described by fellow students and school staff as quiet. Nothing, however, struck them as unusual about the tall, lanky teenager.

But within an hour of that meeting between the student and teacher, the court documents show, Chism followed Ritzer into a second-floor bathroom at the school, where, investigators believe, he used a box cutter to slash her throat.

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