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Suspect In Teacher’s Murder Had Been In Danvers A Short Time

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Philip Chism. (Photo courtesy: Danvers Police)

Philip Chism. (Photo courtesy: Danvers Police)

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DANVERS (CBS) — The 14-year-old charged with the slaying of a Danvers High School math teacher only lived in Danvers a short time.

According to Elisa Shelton of the Clarksville Tennessee School Department, Philip Chism was enrolled at the Rossview Middle School last year.

He had also attended the Burt Elementary School.

According to Tennessee school officials, Chism had left the school in the 5th grade and moved to Boca Raton, Fla. but had returned.

In the fall, he started high school at Danvers High.

Chism was ordered held without bail at his arraignment in Salem District Court Wednesday afternoon.

He’s charged as an adult in the beating death of 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer.

Related: Teacher Remembered As Passionate, Inspirational

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said Ritzer was found dead in the woods behind the school early Wednesday morning, a short time after she had been reported missing.

The chain of events started Tuesday evening when Chism was reported missing by Danvers police.

Danvers police tweeted that they were looking for Chism around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Chism had recently moved to Danvers from Tennessee, police said on their Facebook page.

The posting said that he had last been seen at the Hollywood Hits theater on Endicott Street around 6:30 p.m.

Teammates of Chism on the Danvers High junior varsity soccer team said they went out looking for him as word spread he was missing.

He was later found by Topsfield Police walking along Route 1.

“We cared about him, we liked him,” one teammate told WBZ-TV’s Bree Sison on Wednesday morning.

Other students tell WBZ that Chism seemed like a normal kid.

“I met him in lunch a few weeks ago and he just seemed like a normal kid, it wasn’t like he was a troubled kid,” one student said. “As far as I know, he had nice grades and everything.”

There’s no word on if Chism was a student in Ritzer’s class, nor what led to Ritzer’s murder.

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