Student Says Chism Upset By Teacher's Mention of 'Tennessee' (2024)

Skip to main content

Nearby Communities

  • Peabody, MA
  • Beverly, MA
  • Salem, MA
  • Hamilton-Wenham, MA
  • Lynnfield, MA
  • Marblehead, MA
  • North Reading, MA
  • Swampscott, MA
  • Wakefield, MA
  • Reading, MA

State Edition

  • Massachusetts

National Edition

  • Top National News
  • See All Communities

Court records released Friday in the murder case against Philip Chism also include summaries of interviews with Danvers High Principal, two students and Chism's mother.


Student Says Chism Upset By Teacher's Mention of 'Tennessee' (4)

Court records released Friday in the murder case against Philip Chismalso include summaries ofinterviews with Danvers High Principal Susan Ambrozavitch, two juvenile students and Chism's mother, none of them indicating they ever suspected the heinous acts that had occurred at the time.

Colleen Ritzer was initially reported missing to Danvers police around 11:20 p.m. on Oct. 22, prompting police and school administrators to search the high school, which is when they found evidence of foul play.

Ritzer's car was still parked out in the lot, her belongings were missing from her classroom and bloodstains were discovered in a second-floor bathroom.

In an affidavit, state police detective Robert LaBarge says he spoke with Ambrozavitch by phone the next evening. Ambrozavitch told him a parent (not Chism's mother) had called her around 6 p.m. on Oct. 22, saying Chism was seen running away from the school around 3:30 p.m. She told the woman to contact police.

Over the course of the next several hours, all anyone knew was that both Chism and Ritzer were missing, and that Chism's last class of the day was with Ritzer.

Police say they interviewed Diana Chism the morning of Oct. 23 and she confirmed she lived in an apartment at 10 Riverside St. (the home is owned by a relative) with her three children --Philip and two other siblings.

She told investigators she was going through a "stressful divorce" with Philip's father Stacy Chism and that she and her children recently moved to Danvers from Tennessee.

No other information about that interview was contained in the court records, although various news outlets have reported that Diana Chism first filed for divorce several years ago but the couple never finalized the process in court.

LaBarge said police also interviewed two female students -- one of which was in the classroom with Ritzer and Chism shortly after school had ended.

That student, a freshman,told police she was getting extra work from Ritzer while Ritzer and Chism were talking about China.She said at one point, however, Ritzer mentioned Tennessee and she (the student) noticed it visibly upset Chism.

Ritzer, however, wasn't immediately aware of Chism' reaction, according to the student, and continued to talk about Tennessee. The student said Ritzer eventually realized Chism was upset and changed the topic.

The student told police she also observed Chism talking to himself in the classroom.

The other student interviewedactuallywalked into the bathroom shortly after Chism allegedly attacked Ritzer, based on surveillance footage.

She told officers she entered the bathroom to call her father, but noticed what appeared to bethe exposed backside of a person changing clothes. She said the person was leaning over and there were clothes on the floor. She then turned around and left the bathroom.

LaBarge explained that police obtained a warrant to search Chism's home in Danversport for any evidence he may have left, documenting his intentions.

He said they were looking for any documents, images or Internet activity thatdescribed a plan for the crime, indicated Chism's mental status and what might have led him to write the note, "I hate you all," which was found next to Ritzer's body.

Police seized a computer, two memory drives and two USB drives from the home, but court records do not indicate what if anything was found on them.

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.

We’ve removed the ability to reply as we work to make improvements. Learn more here

To request removal of your name from an arrest report, submit these required items to

More from Danvers

Community Corner|

Danvers Goes Purple In Support Of Those In Recovery

Community Corner|

Vandalized Danvers Eagle Restored, Returned To Rail Trail

Politics & Government|

Transitional Time For Danvers Select Board As 2 New Members Sworn In

Student Says Chism Upset By Teacher's Mention of 'Tennessee' (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated:

Views: 5461

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.