When Mom Didn't Send Wordle Score, She Called the Cops

Denyse Holt rescued after 21 hours held captive in her Illinois home
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2022 10:50 AM CST
When Mom Didn't Send Wordle Score, She Called the Cops
A grid representing a daily score in the popular word game Wordle.   (Newser)

A 80-year-old Illinois woman woke at 1am Sunday to find a naked and bloodied man threatening her with a pair of scissors. It was the start of a 21-hour ordeal that thankfully ended after the woman's daughter—concerned that her mother hadn't forwarded her Wordle score for the day—called police from the West Coast, per the Washington Post. "I'm across the country and I noticed this," Meredith Holt-Caldwell of Portland, Ore., tells WBBM. She realized that her mother, Lincolnwood resident Denyse Holt, hadn't been reading texts and hadn't sent along her score on the popular daily word game that morning as usual. "I never thought in a million years this is what was happening, but it was," Holt-Caldwell says.

Holt was preoccupied, to say the least. "I was trying to survive," she tells the outlet. She says the intruder had climbed into bed with her, then forced her to take a shower with him while she still wore her nightgown. "Then he said, 'No, I'm not warm enough. We have to take a bath.'" Holt tells the Post that he made her lie on top of him in the bath. The man then led her around her house, disconnecting phones and seizing knives from the kitchen, before barricading her in a windowless basement bathroom, where she spent the next 20 or so hours. "I didn't think I was going to live," Holt tells WBBM. But "I'm very lucky," she adds. "I didn't send my older daughter a Wordle in the morning. And that was disconcerting to her."

Police arrived for a wellness check around 9:40pm Sunday, finding blood around a broken first-floor window. They located Holt, unharmed, in the basement and led her to safety before confronting the suspect, armed with knives, in a second-floor bedroom, reports WFLD. An hours-long standoff ensued before the man was taken into custody around 3am Monday. Police say James H. Davis III, 32, who was taken to a hospital for medical treatment, had experienced a mental episode earlier Sunday. He's now charged with home invasion with a dangerous weapon, aggravated kidnapping with a dangerous weapon, and aggravated assault against a peace officer. (More home invasion stories.)

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