Colleen Ritzer Murder: Mass. boy, 14, arraigned on charges he beat teacher to death

Colleen Ritzer, 24, reportedly killed by a 14-year-old student at Danvers High School in Danvers, Mass.
Colleen Ritzer

(CBS) DANVERS, Mass. - A 14-year-old boy was arraigned in Salem District Court Wednesday afternoon on charges that he beat Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School, to death, reports CBS Boston.

According to the station, the teen is being charged as an adult. The Boston Globe reports the suspect is being held without bail.

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said Ritzer was found dead in the woods behind the school in Danvers, Mass. early Wednesday morning. She had been reported missing Tuesday night.

Blodgett said it was "apparent she was a homicide victim."

The chain of events in the case began Tuesday evening when the teen was reported missing.

Later, at 11:20 p.m., Blodgett said police received a report that Ritzer had not returned to her home in Andover and was not answering her cell phone.

Investigators went to the high school and found blood in a second floor bathroom, the D.A. said.

About an hour later, Topsfield police reportedly found the teen walking on Route 1. He was taken to the Danvers police department and a short time later, Ritzer's body was found in the woods behind the high school, reports the station.

Blodgett would not say how Ritzer died or detail her relationship to the teenager.

"We have no reason to believe any other suspects are involved," Blodgett told reporters at a news conference Wednesday morning at the high school.

"She was a very, very respected, loved teacher," the D.A. said of Ritzer, who graduated from Assumption College in 2011 and Andover High School in 2007.

"I just remember seeing her in the hallway and she always had a smile, like 'hi' to everyone and she was just an amazing person," Megan Papagelis, a Danvers High graduate, told CBS Boston NewsRadio on Wednesday.

"It's just shocking to see that this could happen. Unbelievable."

The Boston Globe reports the judge approved funds for a mental competency evaluation for the suspect.

Danvers public schools were closed today as a result of the teacher's death.

"We are very saddened by the horrific tragedy that has occurred in Danvers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim, her family, and the entire school community," state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said in a statement to CBS Boston.

A candlelight vigil will be held in Ritzer's honor at the high school Wednesday night, reports the station.

Complete coverage of the Colleen Ritzer case on Crimesider