Nightly News   |  October 23, 2013

Teen accused of murdering Danvers teacher to be tried as an adult

Both video surveillance and an interview with 14-year-old Philip Chism indicate he allegedly assaulted and murdered Danvers high school math teacher Colleen Ritzer. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> as the world series gets under way in boston tonight there will be a moment of silence for today's tragedy at a school in massachusetts. the murder of a young teacher at danvers high school . a student has been charged. while there are unique circumstances in the case yet again tonight another school community is reacting to yet another tragedy. nbc's ron allen is there for us tonight.

>> reporter: police discovered the body of colleen in the woods near the school and charged a freshman at the school with murder. he will be tried as an adult.

>> this is a terrible tragedy for the community.

>> reporter: the criminal complaint says investigators learned from an interview of the juvenile and video surveillance footage recovered at the school that he allegedly assaulted and subsequently murdered colleen ritzer. classmates describe him as soft spoken. a junior varsity soccer player who recently arrived from tennessee.

>> he was normal. like any other kid you could imagine. completely normal .

>> reporter: danvers is a town of 25,000, half an hour from boston where at first this seemed to be a case of a missing student. at 9:25 danvers police reported he was missing. he had been seen earlier near a movie theater . two two hours later colleen's family said she had not returned home and wasn't answering her phone. at 12:30 a.m . police found chisma, walking in the wrong direction on a state highway in a nearby town. later this morning, her body was found outside danvers high school . this student said when she heard a teacher's body may have been discovered she messaged three freshman teachers at school .

>> i said, i hope and then at the three teachers are safe. i only heard back from two.

>> reporter: ritzer described herself as a math teacher often too excited about the topics i'm teaching and a bucket list on pinterest of things she wanted to do. throw a dart at a map and travel where it lands. marry the love of my life . as the case moves forward video surveillance footage is expected to play a role. there are 120 cameras at the new school . tonight the community will gather for a vigil to honor and pay respects to a much loved teacher. brian?

>> ron allen on the scene for us in massachusetts tonight.