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Colleen Ritzer Murder: Candlelight vigil held in honor of Mass. teacher allegedly killed by 14-year-old student

Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is seen in this undated picture provided by Ritzer's family. AP Photo/Courtesy of Dale Webster via the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune

Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is seen in this undated picture provided by Ritzer's family.
Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is seen in this undated picture provided by Ritzer's family.
AP Photo/Courtesy of Dale Webster via the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune
(CBS/AP) DANVERS, Mass. - Residents of Danvers, Mass. held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night in honor of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School who was allegedly killed by her 14-year-old student Philip Chism Tuesday.

Ritzer's body was found in the woods behind the school where she taught. Prosecutors say Chism killed Ritzer, but they haven't said how or given a motive.

Multiple reports have surfaced over night that Chism allegedly used a box cutter to kill the teacher. Some reports also say that the teen went to the movies after the killing.

Students of Danvers High School have praised Ritzer, who was in her second year of teaching at the school, saying she clearly loved her job and wanted them to succeed.

"She was just very passionate and very active. She never complained. She never yelled at us. She was a great teacher," Brenna Ambrose told CBS Boston at the vigil Wednesday evening.

According to the station, a group of former students of Ritzer have started a donation fund called "Ribbons for Ritzer."

Philip Chism, 14, stands during his arraignment for the death of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer in Salem District Court in Salem, Mass., Oct. 23, 2013.
Philip Chism, 14, stands during his arraignment for the death of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer in Salem District Court in Salem, Mass., Oct. 23, 2013.
AP Photo/Boston Herald - Patrick Whittemore
"We just spent like a couple of hours making these little pink ribbons because pink was her favorite," former Danvers High student Kaitlyn Nash said.

The group plans to give money raised to the Ritzer family in hopes of developing a scholarship in the name of their beloved teacher.

Ritzer lived at home with her 20-year-old brother and her sister, a high school senior.

Her family said they are mourning the death of their "amazing, beautiful daughter and sister."

"Everyone that knew and loved Colleen knew of her passion for teaching and how she mentored each and every one of her students," the family said in a statement provided by her uncle Dale Webster.

Chism had moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee just before the school year and was described by classmates as pleasant, but quiet.

A freshman student who was in Ritzer's class with Chism told Crimesider thatas far as she knows, there was nothing unusual about the relationship between the teacher and student.

"He was always quiet. ...He never talked to anyone," the girl, who wanted to remain anonymous, said.

Chism is being held without bail after being arraigned on a murder charge Wednesday. Prosecutors said in court documents that the arrest was made based on statements by Chism and corroborating evidence at multiple scenes.

Classes at Danvers High School are scheduled to resume Friday.

Complete coverage of the Colleen Ritzer case on Crimesider

  • Stephanie Slifer

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