Wordle may have helped rescue 80-year-old woman from home intruder

In this photo illustration, Wordle, a web-based word game, is seen on a smartphone. Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wordle may be more than just an addictive word game — it may actually be a lifesaver.

It seems that way when you read about the scary experience of Denyse Holt, an 80-year-old woman in Lincolnwood, Ill., who was asleep in her bed when a naked and mentally ill suspect broke into her house on Feb. 5.

According to Holt, she was held hostage for more than 17 hours by suspect James H. Davis III, who entered her home bloodied after breaking a window. He found her in bed and allegedly pointed a pair of scissors at her, but he also said that he wasn’t intending to harm her.

He forced her to take a bath with him while she was still wearing her nightgown; afterwards, he dragged her around the house, taking two knives from the kitchen and disconnecting all the phones. Holt said he then barricaded her in a windowless basement bathroom, where she spent almost an entire day trying to remain calm and doing exercises to keep warm.

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

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All the while, Davis allegedly wandered around the house and otherwise made himself at home.

Across the country in Seattle, Wash., Holt’s daughter, Meredith Holt-Caldwell, was starting to worry after her mother wasn’t replying to or reading text messages, and she also hadn’t sent her the daily Wordle results she normally sent earlier in the day.

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

Distressed about the lack of contact, Holt-Caldwell contacted Lincolnwood police and requested a wellness check.

The police arrived at the house and noticed the broken window and the blood. They located an unharmed Holt in the basement and took her to safety.

They then had a standoff with the intruder, still on the second floor of the house, for several hours. Eventually, a SWAT team shot the man with a stun gun and took him into custody in the early morning hours of Monday.

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Davis was charged with felony home invasion, aggravated kidnapping while armed with a weapon and two counts of aggravated assault against a peace officer.

“I never thought in a million years this is what was happening, but it was,” Holt said. “I’m very lucky.”

Never doubt the P-O-W-E-R of Wordle.

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