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Slain Massachusetts High School Teacher Buried

Authorities Still Mum on Motive Of Student Accused of Killing

  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Tuesday, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school, and student Philip Chism, 14, has been arrested in connection with Ritzer's murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Tuesday, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school, and student Philip Chism, 14, has been arrested in connection with Ritzer's murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Tuesday, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school, and student Philip Chism, 14, has been arrested in connection with Ritzer's murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Tuesday, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school, and student Philip Chism, 14, has been arrested in connection with Ritzer's murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Laura Ritzer, sister of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, is accompanied by her father, Tom, right, as they leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Laura Ritzer, sister of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, is accompanied by her father, Tom, right, as they leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Laura Ritzer, sister of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, is accompanied by her father, Tom, right, as they leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Laura Ritzer, sister of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, is accompanied by her father, Tom, right, as they leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzeris seen in this undated photo provided by the family of Ritzer. Fourteen-year-old high school student Philip Chism was accused of killing Ritzer, a well-liked math teacher at Danvers High School, in Danvers, Mass., whose body was found in the woods behind the school. Law enforcement officials recovered the remains of 24-year-old  Ritzer early Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. Chism was arraigned Wednesday in Salem on a murder charge and ordered held without bail. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Dale Webster via the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune)

    Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzeris seen in this undated photo provided by the family of Ritzer. Fourteen-year-old high school student Philip Chism was accused of killing Ritzer, a well-liked math teacher at Danvers High School, in Danvers, Mass., whose body was found in the woods behind the school. Law enforcement officials recovered the remains of 24-year-old Ritzer early Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. Chism was arraigned Wednesday in Salem on a murder charge and ordered held without bail. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Dale Webster via the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune)

  • Mourners leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after the funeral service for slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. Colleen Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Mourners leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after the funeral service for slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. Colleen Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Mourners leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after the funeral service for slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. Colleen Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Mourners leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after the funeral service for slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. Colleen Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal on Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal on Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal on Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal on Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Students and other mourners watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Students and other mourners watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Students and other mourners watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Students and other mourners watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Students and other mourners line the sidewalk to watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Students and other mourners line the sidewalk to watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Students and other mourners line the sidewalk to watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Students and other mourners line the sidewalk to watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Tuesday, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school, and student Philip Chism, 14, has been arrested in connection with Ritzer's murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Tuesday, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school, and student Philip Chism, 14, has been arrested in connection with Ritzer's murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Laura Ritzer, sister of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, is accompanied by her father, Tom, right, as they leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Laura Ritzer, sister of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, is accompanied by her father, Tom, right, as they leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • A mourner reaches out to Daniel Ritzer, brother of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, as he accompanies his mother, Peggie, out of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after Colleen Ritzer's funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzeris seen in this undated photo provided by the family of Ritzer. Fourteen-year-old high school student Philip Chism was accused of killing Ritzer, a well-liked math teacher at Danvers High School, in Danvers, Mass., whose body was found in the woods behind the school. Law enforcement officials recovered the remains of 24-year-old  Ritzer early Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. Chism was arraigned Wednesday in Salem on a murder charge and ordered held without bail. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Dale Webster via the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune)
  • Mourners leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after the funeral service for slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. Colleen Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Mourners leave St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after the funeral service for slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. Colleen Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal on Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Mourners line the steps of St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013, as the casket of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer is carried out from her funeral Mass into a hearse. Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal on Oct. 22, police said. Her body was found in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Students and other mourners watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Students and other mourners watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Students and other mourners line the sidewalk to watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Students and other mourners line the sidewalk to watch as the funeral procession of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer begins to move from St. Augustine Church in Andover, Mass., Monday Oct. 28, 2013 after her funeral service. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Andover, Mass. — A Massachusetts high school teacher allegedly killed by a student last week was a bright light to her family and devoted to making a difference by “focusing on the adults of the future,” a relative said Monday at her funeral.

Hundreds of mourners, including 12 busloads of students, packed Colleen Ritzer’s hometown church, many wearing her favorite color, pink.

Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School, was killed after dismissal last Tuesday, police said. Blood was found in a school bathroom and her body was later discovered in woods behind the school. Philip Chism, 14, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.

St. Augustine Church in Andover was filled to capacity for her funeral Mass. About 400 students crowded into the church’s lower level as sound from the service was piped in from the sanctuary.

In his homily, the Rev. Peter Gori touched on the shared grief.

“From deep within each of us comes the same cry, ‘This should not happen!’ Not to Colleen. Not to anyone,” he said.

Mourners donned pink ribbons or scarves and bouquets including pink flowers were placed on the steps of the church. Pink was Ritzer’s favorite color, friends said.

Ritzer’s cousin Gina McDaniel said Ritzer loved cruising with friends, going to the beach or cheering school teams.

Ritzer tried to find something good in every day and even kept what she called a memory jar, which contained remembrances of good times, McDaniel said.

“She made people feel loved, comforted and optimistic. Colleen’s grace made her life fulfilling,” said McDaniel said in a eulogy prepared for delivery at the service. “In such a short period of time, one person has made a world of difference.”

Ritzer’s passion was teaching, and her unabashed love for math — she’d exclaim, “Yay math! Yay proofs!” — converted even the unenthusiastic, said McDaniel. Her cousin, she said, “wanted to make this world a better place by focusing on the adults of our future.”

Teachers from Danvers and Andover lined the steps of St. Augustine as Ritzer’s coffin arrived at the church for the private funeral.

The Rev. Gori, in prepared remarks for his homily, said the natural question after such a horrific crime is to ask, ‘Why?” But there’s no satisfactory answer in this case, he said.

“This makes it hurt even more,” he said

Authorities haven’t discussed a motive in the case.

Two of Chism’s classmates said he was in Ritzer’s classroom last Tuesday after dismissal, and shortly before she was killed. One said Ritzer asked Chism to stay after school when she noticed him doodling in class.

Chism had moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee before the start of the school year and played on the school’s junior varsity soccer team.

Court records indicate Chism’s parents had difficulties early in their marriage. In a parenting plan included in 2001 divorce papers, his mother, Diana, insisted on supervising any time her husband, Stacy, had with their son and a younger daughter. She cited “prior physical and emotional abuse as well as alcohol abuse” by her husband. Both adults signed the papers.

The divorce was apparently never finalized after both parents signed an order stating they wanted to attempt to reconcile.

On Saturday, Diana Chism released a statement through her son’s public defender saying she’s heartbroken for Ritzer’s family.

Ritzer, though her life was cut short, made a great impact on those around her, Gori said.

“In that time that was hers, she showed herself to be a beloved daughter and granddaughter, a delightful sister, niece and cousin, a really good friend and student, and not least of all, a truly wonderful teacher,” he said.

Ritzer’s family has established a memorial scholarship fund to benefit Andover High School graduates who also pursue teaching careers.