Chism not being held by youth services agency, official says

Philip D. Chism (left) is charged with murdering his teacher.
Philip D. Chism (left) is charged with murdering his teacher.(Associated Press)

Philip D. Chism, the teenager charged with murdering a Danvers high school teacher, is not in the custody of the Department of Youth Services, and authorities are refusing to say where he is now being held while awaiting trial.

Chism, 15, is charged as an adult in Essex Superior Court with first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated rape in the Oct. 22, 2013, killing of Colleen Ritzer, a mathematics teacher at Danvers High School. Chism has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.

Until Monday, Chism was being held by the DYS because, while charged as an adult with first-degree murder, he cannot be kept at the adult jail run by Essex County Sheriff Frank G. Cousins Jr. because he is only 15 years old, officials have said.


After he allegedly assaulted a female worker at the DYS facility in Dorchester, Chism was taken to Boston Medical Center where he was examined for an undisclosed medical issue under the watch of deputy sheriffs from Cousins’ office, the sheriff’s office has said.

On Thursday, sheriff’s spokesman Assistant Superintendent Maurice Pratt said Chism was being released from the Boston hospital and was set to return to DYS custody. But Alec Loftus, spokesman for the Executive Office for Health and Human Services which includes DYS, said in an e-mail Friday that Chism is not in DYS custody.

Neither Pratt nor Loftus would say where Chism is now being held, citing his status as a juvenile.

Chism defense attorney Denise Regan did not a return telephone call seeking comment; a spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett also declined comment.

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.