DANVERS, Mass. (AP) — The mother of the Massachusetts teenager accused of killing his teacher inside a school bathroom is brokenhearted over the educator's death and seeks prayers for her son, according to a statement released Saturday by her son's defense attorney.
Diana Chism also asked for prayers for the family of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, saying her "heart is broken for the Ritzer family and the loss of their daughter and sister."
Fourteen-year-old Philip Chism is being held without bail on charges he killed Ritzer after school Tuesday, then dumped her body in the woods behind the school. He was arrested early Wednesday.
"Ms. Chism would like you to know that her son was born in love and is dear to her, very dear," said the statement released by defense attorney Denise Regan.
"She asks that you know that she cares for the world's hurt over this and greatly hopes for your prayers for the Ritzer family, the Danvers community, for her son, and all those affected by this tragedy."
Authorities have offered no clues on Chism's alleged motive. They also would not say how Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher, was killed.
Blood in a second-floor bathroom helped lead investigators to her body, which was dumped in the woods behind the school in a close-knit community about 20 miles north of Boston.
A classmate who was in Ritzer's last-period Algebra I class with Chism said the teacher had asked Chism to stay after class on Tuesday. Another classmate said she saw Ritzer and Chism in the classroom after school, shortly before Ritzer was killed.
Ritzer's funeral Mass will be on Monday in her hometown of Andover at St. Augustine Church, where calling hours will be held Sunday afternoon and evening. Her family said a scholarship has been established to honor her "tireless and dedicated work." It will benefit Andover High School graduates who pursue a teaching career.
Chism had moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee before the start of the school year and was a top scorer on the school's junior varsity soccer team.