Town mourns after teen charged in teacher's death

JAY LINDSAY
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Candles and teddy bears are placed at Danvers High School prior to a candlelight vigil to mourn the death of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School on Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013, in Danvers, Mass. Ritzer was found slain in woods behind the high school, and Danvers High School student Philip Chism, 14, who was found walking along a state highway overnight was charged with killing her. (AP Photo/ Bizuayehu Tesfaye)

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts town official says the killing of a popular high school math teacher, allegedly by one of her 14-year-old students, has "torn the fabric of the community."

Gardner Trask III, chairman of the Danvers Board of Selectmen, says the killing of 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer is a "devastating blow" to the close-knit town.

Ritzer's body was found in the woods behind Danvers High School early Wednesday morning. Philip Chism, a freshman who was a student of Ritzer's, is charged with murder in her death. Chism had recently moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee.

Grief counselors met Thursday with students mourning the death of Ritzer.

Classes were expected to resume Friday at the high school.