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Teacher found dead outside Mass. high school; 14-year-old in cus - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Teacher found dead outside Mass. high school; 14-year-old in custody

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Courtesy NBC News

By Erin McClam, Staff Writer, NBC News

A math teacher was found dead Wednesday in the woods outside her Massachusetts high school, and authorities said they would charge a 14-year-old student with murder.

The body of the teacher, identified as Colleen Ritzer, 24, was found just after midnight in the woods near Danvers High School, about a half-hour outside Boston. Blood was found in a second-floor bathroom at the school, authorities said.

Authorities said their murder investigation was connected to their search for a missing 14-year-old boy the day before, but they did not explicitly say that he was the juvenile charged in the killing.

They said the 14-year-old charged with murder would be arraigned later Wednesday. They did not discuss a motive, nor how the teacher was killed.

Jonathan Blodgett, the Essex County district attorney, told reporters that it was a "terrible tragedy."

"She was a very, very respected, loved teacher," he said.

On what appeared to be her Twitter profile, Ritzer posted about her enthusiasm for geometry proofs and listed homework assignments. Earlier this month, a tweet encouraged her followers to "find something good in every day."

Her students took to Twitter to express their shock and grief. One called Ritzer "literally the sweetest, most harmless person ever. she always wanted to help anyone in any way she could." They also spread word of a candlelight vigil at the high school Wednesday night.

Ritzer graduated magna cum laude from Assumption College in Massachusetts with a math degree, the school confirmed.

Public schools in Danvers were closed for the day.

Tracy Connor of NBC News contributed to this story.

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