The popular teacher, Colleen Ritzer, was reportedly beaten to death then dragged into the woods near the school. Police found blood in a second-floor bathroom in the school.
All public schools in Danvers were closed on Wednesday.
Chism, a 14-year-old who played on the school’s junior varsity soccer team, was initially reported missing Tuesday when he didn’t come home from school. Danvers Police said he was last seen at a movie theatre at 6:30 p.m.
Classmates launched a search for Chism and used the hashtag #FindPhilipChism to bring awareness on Twitter.
Some students stayed out until 2 a.m. searching for him once news broke of his disappearance, Danvers High School student Adam Czubinski told Business Insider.
“We were worried about him, we were up until 2 in the morning looking for him,” he said. “It’s kind of like a back-stabbing moment that we found out that he might have killed [Ritzer].”
Another student, Kyle Cahill, told Fox News in Boston that Chism “wasn’t violent at all” and was “really the opposite of aggressive.”
Chism and his family had recently moved to Danvers from Tennessee, according to police.
Ritzer was reported missing Tuesday at about 11:20 p.m. when she hadn’t returned home from work and wasn’t answering her phone.
Police aren’t seeking any other suspects in Ritzer’s death, and they won’t say what Chism’s relationship to her was. Chism is being held without bail.
Fox News in Boston obtained court documents that say investigators arrested Chism after an interview with him and video surveillance footage from the school allegedly showed that he assaulted Ritzer and disposed of her body.
Ritzer was well-liked as a teacher and students are “devastated” at the news of her death, Danvers High School student Brian McKinnon told Business Insider.
“She was really nice, she cared a lot about kids individually and tried to help people learn as much as she could,” he said. “She was new to the school last year, and most kids who had her really, really liked her.”
Students are hosting a vigil for Ritzer near the high school tonight.
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