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October 26, 2013

Teacher killer defendant's mom says her 'heart is broken'

(Continued)

DANVERS, Mass. —

No one apparently witnessed the surveillance camera details. Ritzer's family reported to the school at 11:20 p.m. that she had not returned home yet, and a search of the premises turned up blood in the bathroom and her body in the woods about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The student had also been reported missing by his family, and police found him at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday walking along a state highway (Route 1)  in the neighboring town of Topsfield. He'd changed clothes and bought a ticket to the Woody Allen film "Blue Jasmine" at the Hollywood Hits movie theater in Danvers. The theater manager said Chism was the only patron in the theater and left after the movie ended at 6:15 p.m.

State Police searched the scene of the murder, the woods where the victim's body was found and the defendant's home in Danvers under a court-issued warrant, but a judge sealed the details of what was discovered. Search warrant details are normally considered public record in Massachusetts.

“The motion (to seal) actually contains some of the sensitive information we didn’t want released,” said Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

“The affidavit in support of our motion contained information that may be prejudicial to the defendant,” she said, adding that the documents “may contribute to the increased psychological and emotional distress of the victim’s family and others. It also contains names of witnesses which we have not had an opportunity to call before the grand jury.”

Prosecutors and the attorney for the defendant were advised that several news outlets plan Monday to challenge the judge's order sealing the search warrant details on the basis of the public interest in the information. A similar challenge to search warrant details in former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez's murder case was successful recently.

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