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Woman saved by Wordle after being held against her will by an unknown man

Feb 10, 2022, 2:14 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:16 pm
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 12: In this photo illustration, the word game Wordle is shown on a mobile ...
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 12: In this photo illustration, the word game Wordle is shown on a mobile phone on January 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. The online word game Wordle has gone viral after initially gaining momentum in October of 2021. Created by software engineer Josh Wardle, the game now has more than 2.7 million players. (Photo Illustration by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
(Photo Illustration by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

LINCOLNWOOD, Illinois (WBBM) — A man has been charged after breaking into an 80-year-old woman’s home and holding her against her will in Lincolnwood. She’s sharing what she did to survive with CBS 2’s Steven Graves.

Lincolnwood police confirmed 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.

The elderly woman stayed calm as the naked stranger held this woman hostage in her Lincolnwood home, surviving when family across the country became alarmed. Speaking exclusively to CBS 2’s Steven Graves, 80-year-old Denyse Holt likens it to a beyond horrifying dream.

“I was in shock,” Holt said.

A bloody figure – a naked man – creeping in the shadows as she slept in bed with scissors in hand.

“Just threatened me,” she said.

He got in next to her but she stayed calm.

“I was trying to survive that’s all,” Holt said. “He said ‘I won’t harm you or molest you.’”

She said he then ordered her to take a shower with him.

“Then he said, ‘No, I’m not warm enough. We have to take a bath.’”

They got in and out of the bath – her night gown soaked. The man then dragging her around the house, disconnecting phones, leaving trails of blood. He had gashes from the broken window he used to get into Holt’s Lincolnwood home.

“He took two knives from my kitchen. He told me he liked those,” she said.

He then led her to this basement bathroom barricading it with this chair.

“I didn’t think I was going to live.”

With no windows, in darkness, Holt did exercises in the 17-hours of captivity.

“I was doing marching and stretching as much as I could.”

All the while the man was making himself at home, as family and friends noticed something was off.

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

Holt’s daughter, in Seattle, saw texts weren’t being read by her mom. There were also no updates on Wordle, a popular phone game.

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

Friends and family called Lincolnwood police, leading to an hours long standoff with the man. Family said the SWAT team used a stun gun through this hole in the door to subdue him.

“I can’t say enough good things. They were beyond wonderful.”

According to police, officers responded to a well being check, in the 4600 block of Morse Avenue on February 6 around 9:40 p.m., after the homeowner’s daughter did not hear from her 80-year-old mother. The man who police believe has mental issues is now in custody. A terrifying ordeal – Holt’s family hopes learn from, the importance of staying in touch with loved ones.

“I never thought in a million years this is what was happening, but it was,” remarked Holt-Caldwell.

“I’m very lucky,” added Holt.

The homeowner was immediately taken to safety by police and was determined to be physically unharmed, according to police.

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Woman saved by Wordle after being held against her will by an unknown man