Woman Held Captive for 17 Hours by Naked Intruder, Saved When Daughter Doesn’t See Mom’s Wordle Score: Police

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A Chicago man has been charged after holding an 80-year old woman captive inside her own home for 17 hours. Police were alerted when the women’s daughter, who lives in another state, called for a welfare check when she did not get her mother’s daily “Wordle,” according to published news reports. 

The suspect, identified as James H. Davis, III, 32, is facing felony charges including home invasion with a dangerous weapon, aggravated kidnapping while armed with a dangerous weapon, and aggravated assault against a peace officer, according to Lincolnwood police, CBS Chicago reported. 

Davis remains in custody at the Cook County Jail. He is being held without a bond. His next hearing date is scheduled for Feb 23 at 9 a.m., an officer at the Cook County Jail told Inside Edition Digital. 

The terrifying ordeal happened on Sunday when Denyse Holt, 80, was in the bedroom alone in her Lincolnwood home. Holt told police that the man had broken through a window, stood over her bed naked and bleeding, and had a pair of scissors, according to CBS News. A shocked Holt said the stranger suddenly got into bed with her. She told police that she was just “trying to survive,” and tried to remain calm. “He said, ‘I won’t harm you or molest you,’” she recalled. 

The man told Holt that he wanted to take a shower with her, and quickly changed his mind and told her, “I am not warm enough. We have to take a bath,” CBS News reported.

Holt told police that she got into the bath with the suspect. When she got out of the water, her nightgown was drenched and the suspect then dragged her around her home, leaving trails of blood from the injury he sustained breaking through the window, People reported. She told the authorities that the man had disconnected all the phones in her home and then took two kitchen knives from her kitchen and forced her into the basement bathroom, which had no windows and no light, barricaded the door with a chair where she remained for 17 hours, the news outlet reported. 

Holt told the Washington Post that she told herself,  “I don’t want to die like this, and I don’t want my kids to hear that their mother was murdered.”

She said she did stretching and marching exercises, as the suspect remained in her home, even making himself comfortable, CBS reported.

Holt’s older daughter Meredith Holt-Caldwell, who lives in Seattle, sensed something wasn’t right when her mother did not read her texts the previous night, or send her her daily score from the popular word game, Wordle, People reported.

When police arrived at Holt’s home at 4600 block Morose Ave.  around 9:40 p.m. on Sunday they saw that she was in danger, which led to an hours-long standoff with the suspect and the SWAT team. Officers eventually used a stun gun to subdue the man, according to CBS.

Police said they believe Davis suffers from mental issues. the news outlet reported. 

Holt told the news station: “I didn’t send my older daughter a Wordle in the morning, and that was disconcerting to her,” she said. After the ordeal, she praised the police and SWAT team for finding her, “they were beyond wonderful,” she said, in part.  “I’m very lucky.”

Meanwhile, Holt’s daughter was grateful that her mother was safe and wasn’t harmed, but was still processing what had taken place. “I never thought in a million years this is what was happening, but it was,” she said, CBS reported.