Mother of teen accused of killing teacher asks for prayers, patience

By Melissa Gray

 (CNN) -- The mother of the 14-year-old Massachusetts boy who allegedly killed his teacher said Saturday her "heart is broken" for the teacher's family and that she is struggling to understand the crime.

Diana Chism, in a statement released by her son Philip's attorney, also asked for prayers for all involved. Philip was arrested late Tuesday, accused of killing his 24-year-old algebra teacher, Colleen Ritzer, and dumping her body in nearby woods.

"Ms. Chism's heart is broken for the Ritzer family and the loss of their daughter and sister Colleen Ritzer," the statement from attorney Denise Regan reads.

"Ms. Chism would like you to know that her son was born in love and is dear to her, very dear. She is struggling to understand this and respectfully asks for some time to process this.

"She asks that you know that she cares for the world's hurt over this and greatly hopes for your prayers for the Ritzer family, the Danvers community, for her son, and all those affected by this tragedy."

Chism killed Ritzer in the girl's bathroom of Danvers High School with a box cutter he brought to school, a source close to the investigation said.

He then stashed Ritzer's body in a recycling bin, rolled it outside and dumped it about 20 feet into the woods behind the school's athletic fields, the source said.

After changing his clothes, Chism went to a Wendy's restaurant and a movie, sources say.

Chism was reported missing Tuesday evening after he failed to return home. As police searched for him, they received another missing persons call about Ritzer.

Officers found Chism about an hour later and soon pieced the story together.

Those who know Chism describe him as a quiet but normal teenager who excelled at soccer. He was a newcomer to Danvers, north of Boston, and this was his first year at the school.

Ritzer was a favorite teacher to many at the high school and was known for her smile and positive spirit.

"She always wanted to be a teacher, all her life. It's just unbelievable that someone would take her life at such a young age," said her aunt, Shirley Martellucci.
 CNN's Adam Sussman contributed to this report.
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