, Salem, MA

Local News

October 25, 2013

Student accused in teacher's death stayed after class, classmate says


Chism, who was the leading scorer on the junior varsity soccer team, did not show up at practice after school. He was next seen at around 4 p.m. at the Hollywood Hits movie theater near Route 128 in Danvers, where he watched the Woody Allen movie “Blue Jasmine,” according to a theater manager.

Chism was reported missing later that day, and eight of his fellow high school soccer players took to the streets to try to find him. At 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, police found him walking along Route 1 in Topsfield.

In the meantime, police were called shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday because Ritzer had not returned home and was not answering her cellphone. Police searched the high school and found blood in a second-floor bathroom.

After interviewing Chism and watching the surveillance video, police found Ritzer’s body in the woods near the school.

School offers counseling

The high school remained closed for classes yesterday, but grief counselors were on hand to offer comfort to students.

“It will be tough to go back to way things used to be,” said sophomore Matthew Caruccio. “Everyone will always remember such a crazy thing happened here. We will always remember her.”

Junior Becca Horn, who had Ritzer as a teacher last year, said it was comforting to gather at the school with friends and teachers.

“It was good to just be around everyone,” she said. “They said that it will be all right and that we need to be there for each other.”

While the feelings are still raw, she said students are probably ready to return to school. Classes were expected to resume today.

“If the teachers think it’s right, then it’s probably right just to transition,” she said. “It is better than sitting at home alone thinking about it.”

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