Wordle Helps Save 80-Year-Old Illinois Woman from Naked Home Intruder

An 80-year-old Illinois woman, who was the victim of a break-in and kidnapping, was rescued after family across the country felt something was wrong because she had not shared updates on the daily Wordle game, according to a report.

Denyse Holt told WBBM-TV she was sleeping last week when a man broke through a window to gain entry into her home in Lincolnwood – located in the Northwest outskirts of Chicago.

“I was in shock,” Holt said, adding that she tried to remain calm. 

The alleged suspect, who has been identified as James H. Davis III, was naked and covered in blood from injuries sustained breaking through the window. He entered her bedroom and climbed into bed with her, Holt said. He was wielding a pair of scissors, according to the Patch. 

“I was trying to survive, that’s all,” she told WBBM-TV. “He said ‘I won’t harm you or molest you.’”

The man then demanded she take a shower with him, the outlet reports.

“Then he said, ‘No, I’m not warm enough. We have to take a bath,” she recounted. 

They entered the bath and got out, soaking Holt’s nightgown, before the man dragged her around the home as he disconnected phones.

“He took two knives from my kitchen. He told me he liked those,” Holt recalled. 

He took her to the basement and locked her in a bathroom – using a chair as a barricade.

“I didn’t think I was going to live,” Holt said.

It was there she stayed for 17 hours. WBBM-TV reports. She did exercises to pass the time and remain calm. 

“I was doing marching and stretching as much as I could,” she said. 

While the intruder had her home under siege, Holt’s family and friends realized something was awry. 

“I’m across the country and I noticed this,” Holt’s daughter, Meredith Holt-Caldwell, told WBBM-TV. 

Holt-Caldwell lives in Seattle and she noticed her mother had neither been reading texts nor had she sent any updates on the daily word game Wordle.

“I didn’t send my older daughter a Wordle in the morning. And that was disconcerting to her,” Holt recounted to WBBM-TV. 

Family and Friends notified police in Lincolnwood, who arrived at the home to conduct a welfare check on February 6 at around 9:40 p.m.

An hours-long standoff with SWAT ensued. Authorities used a stun gun to subdue the man through a hole in a door, according to WBBM-TV. The outlet previously reported the ordeal ended just prior to 3:00 a.m.

James H Davis III was arrested and charged with “home invasion with a dangerous weapon, aggravated kidnapping while armed with a dangerous weapon, and aggravated assault against a peace officer,” according to the outlet. Police believe Davis is mentally ill. 

Authorities determined Holt was unharmed after they got her to safety.

Holt praised SWAT and Lincolnwood police for their efforts. 

“I can’t say enough good things. They were beyond wonderful,” she said. 

“I never thought in a million years this is what was happening, but it was,” said Holt-Caldwell.

“I’m very lucky,” Holt added. 

Wordle is a daily word game developed by Jason Wardle, according to the Agence France-Presse. Users get six chances to guess the five-letter word of the day. 


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