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80-Year-Old Woman Held Hostage By Naked Intruder For 17 Hours Rescued Thanks To Wordle

Photo: Youtube / CBS News / Tada Images / Shutterstock  
Denyse Holt, Wordle

An 80-year-old Chicago woman was rescued by police after she was held hostage for 17 hours, and it's all thanks to daily word game, Wordle.

Denyse Holt, who lives in Lincolnwood, had been asleep on the night of February 5 when she was abruptly woken up after a man, who was mentally-ill and naked, broke into her home.

"I didn't think I was going to live, I was in shock. I was trying to survive," Holt told CBS News. The man, who was identified as James H. Davis III, 32, entered Holt's home by breaking the glass in her windows. 

He pointed scissors at her, before then getting into bed with Holt. "I was trying to survive that’s all,” she said. “He said ‘I won’t harm you or molest you.’”

Davis then dragged Holt into the shower in the nightgown she'd been wearing, telling her he was not warm. After, he forced Holt out of the shower, while she was still in her wet nightgown, he started going through the house, collecting two kitchen knives and also disconnecting the phones.

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Davis then locked Holt in her basement, where the 80-year-old woman said she did exercises in order to keep herself warm in the bathroom of the basement, which had no windows and was barricaded shut with a chair.

"I was marching and stretching as much as I could," she said.

Denyse Holt was saved from the intruder after her daughter noticed she had not sent the daily Wordle answer.

In Seattle, Holt's oldest daughter, Meredith Holt-Caldwell, noticed that her mother hadn't been responding to her texts and had also not sent the daily Wordle, a task Holt never missed.

“I’m across the country and I noticed this,” Holt-Caldwell told CBS News. 

After sending texts to her mother, all of them going unread, that's when Holt-Caldwell decided to call the police to her mother's home, alering them to her mother's unusual behavior.

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

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The police officers who responded to the wellbeing check immediately figured out that there was an intruder in Holt's home, and that she was being held captive.

Authorities ended up in an hours-long standoff with Davis, trying to negotiate with him in an effort to establish contact with Holt, but their efforts didn't seem to be working.

Eventually, the officers had to use a stun gun through a hole in the door to subdue and arrest Davis, finally freeing Holt after 17 hours of captivity.

According to police, Davis is believed to have mental issues and is now in custody, facing charges of felony, home invasion with a weapon, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault against an officer.

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

Holt was full of gratitude towards her daughter, and the officers who responded to the call, saying, "I'm very lucky."

After being rescued, Holt was immediately taken to safety by police and was determined to be physically unharmed.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.

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