EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 23, 2013

Andover woman, 24, a teacher at Danvers High School, victim of homicide

DANVERS - An Andover woman who was a teacher at Danvers High School was killed last night and a 14-year-old student is being held as a suspect in the homicide, according to the district attorney.

Colleen Ritzer, 24, of 5 Dascomb Road, graduated from Andover High School in 2007. She was a math teacher in Danvers since September 2012 after graduating from Assumption College in 2011.

According to police and Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, police received a report at 11:20 p.m. last night that Ritzer had not returned home and was not answering her cell phone.

When they went to the high school, police found blood in a second-floor bathroom.

Working with the state police along with Topsfield and Danvers police, they conducted a search and found Ritzer in the woods near the school.

"It is apparent she was a homicide victim," Blodgett said at a press conference this morning.

Earlier, police had received a missing persons report about a 14-year-old boy from Danvers High School.

He was found walking on Route 1 in Topsfield at 11:20 p.m.

He was taken into custody and brought to Danvers.

He is currently being held and will be arraigned on murder charges in Juvenile Court later today, Blodgett said.

In 2007 when she graduated, Ritzer received a technology award for Excellence in TV production. Joe Spanos, the retired head of the TV production department at the high school, remembered Ritzer well.

"I cried when I heard the sad news this morning," said Spanos, who still lives in Andover and retired two years ago. "She was a great student. I taught her in my TV production class. She was a teaching assistant. "She always wanted to be a teacher."

Before working at Danvers, she worked at a middle school in Stow, Mass.

She was a lifelong resident of Andover.

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