‘Wordle’ saves 80-year-old from home invasion hostage by naked man

Feb 15, 2022
A simple puzzle and a very astute daughter just saved the 80-year-olds life. Source: Getty

Here’s a new one – a woman’s hostage ordeal has been detected due to the most ordinary reason; she hadn’t shared her solution for the day’s Wordle challenge.

Retired teacher, Denyse Holt, 80, was alone at her home in Chicago, Illinois, on February 5 when she had woken up to a real-life nightmare. A bloody, naked, stranger had broken into her bedroom, carrying scissors. 

“I didn’t think I was going to live,” she told CBS News. “I was in shock. I was trying to survive.”

Luckily, help was at hand, partly thanks to the 80-year-old’s enthusiasm for Wordle, the viral word game where players are given six guesses to work out a five-letter word. 

Across the country, in Seattle, Washington, Holt’s daughter Meredith Holt-Caldwell, noticed something was wrong when her mother had not responded to her texts or shared her daily Wordle score. 

Holt-Caldwell then called the Lincolnwood police and requested a welfare check at her mothers home.

While Holt’s intruder said he wouldn’t harm her, he did force her – still wearing her nightgown – to take a warm bath with him before taking two knives from her kitchen, disconnecting the phones, and locking Holt up in her basement bathroom. 

“I never thought in a million years this is what was happening, but it was,” Holt told CBS Chicago.

Officers visited the house at 9.40pm. Following this, an hour-long standoff ensued, and only ending when a SWAT team used a stun gun to subdue the man and take him into custody. 

Authorities have identified the suspect as 32-year old James H. Davis III, who suffers from mental health issues. 

CBS Chicago reports Davis is now facing felony charges including home invasion, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault. 

The Holt family hopes the public can learn from the whole ordeal, especially the importance of staying in touch with loved ones. 


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