A Chicago grandmother has been rescued from a terrifying hostage ordeal thanks to an unlikely saviour – the online Wordle craze.
Denyse Holt, 80, has told police in Illinois she was home alone late on February 5 when she woke in the middle of the night to find a naked and bloody man standing in her bedroom.
The man – since named by police as 32-year-old James Davis – allegedly pointed a pair of scissors at Ms Holt. He had been cut by glass from windows he broke to enter her home.
“I didn’t think I was going to live,” Ms Holt told CBS.
“I was in shock. I was trying to survive.”
Mr Davis told her Ms Holt wouldn’t harm her. He got into bed with her – and then made another demand.
“He said, ‘No, I’m not warm enough. We have to take a bath’.”
Still wearing her nightgown, Ms Holt was forced into a warm bath with the home invader. Afterwards, he took knives from the kitchen, disconnected her phones, and locked her in a cold basement bathroom.
“I didn’t think I was going to live,” she said.
In the cold and dark, with no windows, Ms Holt did exercises throughout her 17 hours of captivity.
“I was doing marching and stretching as much as I could,” she said.
But, across the country in Seattle, Ms Holt’s daughter, Meredith Holt-Caldwell, soon noticed that her mother wasn’t responding to text messages. She also hadn’t sent in her Wordle, a popular daily word puzzle.
“I didn’t send my older daughter a Wordle in the morning. And that was disconcerting to her,” Ms Holt said.
An alarmed Ms Holt-Caldwell contacted police, who headed to Ms Holt’s home.
After a stand-off with Mr Davis that lasted hours, a police SWAT team entered the home. They used a stun gun to subdue him and take him into custody.
Mr Davis faces multiple charges, including home invasion with a dangerous weapon, aggravated kidnapping while armed with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of aggravated assault against a police officer. Police have also reported he had mental health issues.
Ms Holt, meanwhile, was unharmed.
“I never thought in a million years this is what was happening, but it was,” she said.
“I’m very lucky.”
Wordle is an online game that was created by a software engineer, initially for his wife, who loves word puzzles. It has since become a smash global hit, and was bought a fortnight ago by The New York Times for a sum “in the low seven figures”.
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