No Wordle update leads to discovery of 80-year-old hostage

Police rescued an 80-year-old suburban Chicago woman who was held hostage for nearly 21 hours by a man with scissors, and they checked on her in large part because she couldn’t text one of her daughters her daily Wordle score during the ordeal

ByThe Associated Press
February 11, 2022, 2:10 PM
PHOTO: Wordle, the web-based word game is seen played on a mobile phone in this photo illustration taken Feb. 1, 2022.
Wordle, the web-based word game is seen played on a mobile phone in this photo illustration taken Feb. 1, 2022.
Andrew Boyers/Reuters

LINCOLNWOOD, Ill. -- Police rescued an 80-year-old suburban Chicago woman who was held hostage in her home for nearly 21 hours by a naked man with scissors, and officers checked on the woman in part because she couldn't text one of her daughters her daily Wordle score during the ordeal.

Denyse Holt and her oldest daughter, Meredith Holt-Caldwell, told reporters that Holt woke up about 1 a.m. Sunday to the sight of the naked and bloody man in her Lincolnwood home.

Holt said the man threatened her life. Ultimately, after grabbing two knives from the kitchen, Holt said the man led her to a bathroom in the basement, barricading her inside using a chair for the next 17 hours.

“I was trying to survive, that’s all,” Holt told WBBM-TV.

During that time, she couldn't communicate with the outside world or update her daughter as she usually does about her score on the popular online word game. And Holt-Caldwell, who lives in Seattle, became worried that her mother wasn’t reading her texts or updating her about Wordle.

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

Holt-Caldwell asked Lincolnwood police to make a well-being check and they rescued her mother from the bathroom. Officers found 32-year-old James H. Davis III armed with knives in an upstairs bedroom and arrested him after a SWAT team responded and used a stun gun to subdue him, police said.

“She’s amazing,” Holt-Caldwell told the Chicago Tribune of her mother. “She doesn’t really know how she was able to remain that calm."

Davis was taken to the Cook County Jail, where on Friday he remained in custody. The Chicago man faces felony charges of home invasion with a dangerous weapon, aggravated kidnapping while armed with a dangerous weapon, and aggravated assault against a peace officer.

The state’s attorney’s office said Davis is represented by the public defender’s office in Skokie, but there was no answer Friday at the office.

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