October 24th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Mystery, Grief After Beloved Teacher Killed

A young, beloved teacher found killed in the woods. A 14-year-old student in custody, charged with her murder.

That much we know. But hours after both were found - one dead, one alive - in suburbs northeast of Boston, much remains unknown as to why Colleen Ritzer was brutally slain.

"It's just surreal how quickly someone can go, and how much we take for granted everyday," said Danvers High School student Chris Weimert, describing Ritzer as "the nicest teacher you could ever have. ... I can't believe it."

Authorities had been looking for the student, Philip Chism, first, after he was reported missing - with police sending out messages via Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday evening, noting he'd been last seen around 6:30 p.m. and asking for the public's help in finding him.

“Also, the prosecutor's office has indicated that it wants to try Chism as an adult,” reports CNN’s Pamela Brown. But at this point that decision will be up to the grand jury.”

The school is meanwhile remembering Ritzer as a teacher who loved her students and also inspired them to appreciate math. Nicole White and Riley Doyle say they’ll remember Ms. Ritzer’s smile and positivity. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

White says the school is taking her loss very hard.

“We all got together last night and everybody was really touched by what everyone did,” White says.

“And we were all wearing pink last night because it's her favorite color. And we lit the candles and everything and it's just been hard for everybody, but coming together last night I think made things a lot better.”

“I think a lot of people were shocked and were really turning to each other for a lot of support because we're all feeling the same way,” Doyle says. “So it's been nice to really have classmates who are there for you.


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