Student, 14, ‘Used Tree Branch to Rape Teacher in School Bathroom Before Slitting Her Throat and Leaving a Note Saying “I Hate You All” Next to Her Staged Body’
Rachel Quigley, Daily Mail (London), November 22, 2013
The 14-year-old student accused of raping, robbing and murdering his high school math teacher used a tree branch to sexually assault her and left a hate note next to her body, it has been revealed.
Philip Chism left a folded piece of paper with the words ‘I hate you all’ next to the corpse of Colleen Ritzer after he slit her throat in a bathroom and left her body in a ‘sexually staged’ position at Danvers High School in Massachusetts, according to court court papers.
The documents also describe how Chism’s parents were going through a difficult divorce and the student had become visibly upset at Miss Ritzer after she asked him to stay behind after class on the day of the killing, according to the Boston Herald.
Miss Ritzer, 24, had asked Chism and another student to stay behind on 22 October and began talking about Tennessee–the state where Chism used to live–causing him to become distressed.
Chism, whose mother left his father and moved away this summer, was seen talking to himself quietly after his teacher changed the subject.
He wore gloves and a mask as he followed Ritzer into a second-floor bathroom after the argument armed with a box cutter.
He raped her, slit her throat with the box cutter, wheeled her body outside in a large recycling bin and dumped it in the woods behind the school. Her body was found naked from the waist down with the three foot branch still inside her corpse, which was covered in leaves. Her bra was pulled down and her top pulled up.
An unidentified woman also walked into the bathroom as Chism committed his terrible crime at 3pm, but left quickly when she saw his naked behind and clothes on the floor. She told police that she assumed someone was changing in the bathroom.
Chism was also seen on CCTV emerging from the bathroom after killing Miss Ritzer, leaving the building and using a service elevator to return with a recycling bin in which he stuffed her body.
The new details come after Chism was indicted in a Massachusetts court on charges of murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery on Thursday.
District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett also said in court on Thursday the teen stole her iPhone, credit cards and underwear. He was found with her underwear and a bloody knife in his bag.
‘The indictments returned today detail horrific and unspeakable acts,’ District Attorney said.
‘Since the moment Ms Ritzer’s body was discovered, a dedicated and professional team of state police detectives assigned to my office, Danvers Police officers, crime scene forensic experts and assistant district attorneys have worked tirelessly to compile and present the evidence to the Grand Jury.
‘This is the first step in a long process to secure justice for Ms Ritzer and her family.’
The second-year math teacher’s family released a statement yesterday saying: ‘We are devastated and heartbroken by the details of the horrific circumstances surrounding the death of our beautiful daughter and sister, Colleen.
‘As a family, we continue to mourn Colleen’s passing and ask that the media respect our privacy during this very difficult time.’
A student in Ritzer’s math class says the teacher had asked Chism to stay after school that day for help on an upcoming test.
After the murder Chism went to a movie theater and watched Woody Allen film Blue Jasmine by himself.
Police prosecutors have attempted to keep details about the shocking murder under wraps up until now but said earlier this month there was nothing untoward about the teacher’s relationship with her alleged killer.
‘There is absolutely no evidence of any misconduct or wrongdoing by Ms Ritzer of any sort,’ assistant Essex District Attorney David O’Sullivan said in a court hearing held for attorneys for several media outlets, who are arguing to unseal Chism’s entire file in Salem District Court.
The media are attempting to see the file due to the widespread public interest in the tragic death of Ms Ritzer.
However attorney Susan Oker, one of Chism’s public defenders, said it has not been determined what evidence will be admissible in court, so releasing anything would jeopardize the trial.
Oker said some statements taken from some 14-year-olds were ‘inflammatory’ and therefore unnecessarily harmful, according to The Boston Herald.
The new developments come after MailOnline revealed that Chism confessed to carrying out the attack, according to officers attached to the case, and that he was caught on security cameras at Danvers High School, Massachusetts, dumping the body, covered in blood.
But despite fully cooperating with police, telling them exactly what happened during the October 22 tragedy, the Freshman soccer star refuses to tell anyone why he did it.
Detectives are working on a theory that Chism–who only moved to Danvers from Clarksville, Tennessee at the start of the school year–was ‘infatuated’ with Colleen, 24, and snapped when she spurned his advances.
But this has not been confirmed.
Police had hoped to uncover something in his past that could explain the killing and they have been in touch with authorities in Clarksville since the murder.
Chism had been in a couple of ‘minor scrapes’ at his previous school, Rossview Middle School, but there was nothing that could possibly indicate he was capable of such a seemingly senseless killing.
Detectives have also looked into his medical history, but at this stage they do not think he was on any kind of mental health drugs.
They may now analyze a number drawings Chism had scrawled in his note book during maths class on the day of the murder, in the hope the sketches give some kind of insight into his mind state at the time.
The Essex County District Attorney’s office have told the MailOnline they do not have any idea why Chism allegedly did what he did.
A police source said: ‘We have no idea why he did this. We have questioned him and got nothing. We have spoken to authorities in Tennessee and other than a couple of minor scrapes at school he was a well behaved student.
‘As far as I am aware he was not on medication. The only thing anyone can come up with is that he had feelings for her that were not returned, but that is just a theory. It really is a complete mystery. and it is unclear whether we will ever really know why he did it.’
Friends and family of Chism are equally mystified by the crime. His mother Diana–who is separated from his father Stacey–said her son was, ‘born in love’ and that she is, ‘struggling to understand’ the murder.
And his former soccer coach at Rossview Middle School, Clarksville Jando Herrera told CNN: ‘I’m sure any of his teammates would say the same thing: that he was just the nicest kid on the team, probably.
‘It’s completely out of character; it’s not something that I would ever imagine Philip ever, you know, doing or anything like that . . . always the most respectful kid that I’ve, you know, had around–“yes sir, no sir”.’
Investigators searched Chism’s family home in Danvers–a couple of miles away from the murder scene–but their findings have been kept secret.
The reasons why the warrant was requested in the first place have also been banned, along with the actual motion from the Essex County District Attorney’s office requesting the court order.
Student Rania Rhaedaoui was sitting just one desk away from Chism in his final math class with Ritzer, a couple of hours before the killing.
Speaking to the MailOnline, she explained: ‘We were supposed to have a test last Friday and Philip wasn’t participating in class on Tuesday. He was drawing in his note book and not working. He always draws, but I didn’t ever see what he was sketching because he was quite private about it.
‘Miss Ritzer spotted what he was doing and asked if he could stay behind so she could help him. It wasn’t a punishment and it was something she did a lot with other students. If you couldn’t stay it was no problem.
‘As I left the classroom to go to play practice, I could see he was getting his homework stuff out ready for extra tuition.’ It is understood police may now examine his drawings to see if they give any clues as to his motive.
A different student saw the two together an hour after the class had ended, and Colleen was standing next to him as he was sitting down by her computer.