The Massachusetts high school teacher allegedly murdered by one of her charges inside a school bathroom was remembered at her viewing Sunday as an inspiring woman.
Mourners wiped away tears as they gathered at Andover's St. Augustine Church to pay respects to Danvers High School mathematics teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, whose body was found in woods nearby just after midnight Wednesday.
Courtesy of the Ritzer Family
Colleen Ritzer, a teacher at Danvers High School in Massachusetts, was found dead early Wednesday.
"She was an inspiration to me to live my life to the fullest every single day," said Caroline Rufo, Ritzer's college roommate, according to the Associated Press.
She added: "There's going to be a void forever in our hearts. I don't know that anything can ever fill that."
A law enforcement source told NBC News on Friday that Ritzer’s throat was slit from the back with a box-cutter in a second-floor bathroom at the school. Her body was wheeled out of the school in a recycling bin, dumped in the woods and covered with leaves, the source said.
Philip Chism, a freshman, was charged as an adult with first-degree murder and has been ordered held without bail. A surveillance camera caught the suspect following Ritzer into the bathroom and then leaving, covered in blood, the source said.
Ritzer's family has set up a memorial scholarship fund to benefit Andover High School graduates who also pursue teaching careers, according to the AP.
Ritzer's funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.
NBC News' Erin McClam contributed to this report.
First published October 27 2013, 6:58 PM