An elderly woman from Chicago, Illinois, is crediting local law enforcement and the popular online game, Wordle, for playing key parts in saving her life after a disturbed man broke into her home and held her hostage for 17 hours.
Denyse Holt, 80, recounted the harrowing experience to WBBM-TV this week. She had reportedly been lying asleep in bed when a strange naked man shattered a window and entered her Lincolnwood home on Monday, Feb. 6.
The intruder, later identified as 32-year-old James H. Davis III, approached Holt and got into bed with her. Then he ordered her to take a shower with him, and then a bath.
After that, the troubled kidnapper led Holt around her own home, grabbing knives, disconnecting phones, and leaving trails of blood from the open wounds he suffered while breaking in. Holt said she just tried to remain calm.
"I was trying to survive that’s all," Holt said. "He said, ‘I won’t harm you or molest you.'"
Eventually, he shut her in the basement bathroom and barricaded the door. For the next several hours, Holt remained in the darkness of the bathroom. She said marched and stretched as much as she could, nervously passing the time.
"I didn’t think I was going to live," Holt recalled.
'I Didn’t Think I Was Going To Live' www.youtube.com
Meanwhile, her family was beginning to suspect that something was off.
Her oldest daughter, Meredith Holt-Caldwell, who lives in Seattle, saw that her mother was not reading her texts and also hadn't sent her an update that morning about Wordle. The online word game generates a new five-letter word every day for users to guess using clues and the process of elimination.
"I didn’t send my older daughter a Wordle in the morning, and that was disconcerting to her," Holt explained to WBBM.
Convinced that something was wrong, friends and family called Lincolnwood police and asked them to perform a welfare check.
When police arrived at the home at approximately 9:40 p.m. Monday night, they realized that an intruder had entered. An hours-long standoff ensued, but eventually, the SWAT team charged into the home and subdued Davis.
Davis is now reportedly in custody under felony charges of home invasion with a dangerous weapon, aggravated kidnapping while armed with a dangerous weapon, and aggravated assault against a peace officer.
Holt's daughter told the news outlet, "I never thought in a million years this is what was happening, but it was."
Holt added, "I’m very lucky," but wanted to make sure to thank the law enforcement officers who rescued her.
"I can’t say enough good things. They were beyond wonderful," she said.
Commenters are calling the story a helpful reminder to stay in touch with loved ones.