Wordle clue helps end U.S. hostage ordeal

Ms. Holt’s eldest daughter Meredith Holt-Caldwell first twigged that something was amiss when her mother did not send her daily Wordle score.

February 11, 2022 09:52 pm | Updated 09:52 pm IST - Washigton

Photo used for representational purpose only. File

Photo used for representational purpose only. File

When Denyse Holt failed to text her daily Wordle score, her daughter knew something must be wrong. Hours later a police SWAT team rescued the 80-year-old Chicago woman from a naked home intruder who had been holding her hostage with a pair of scissors.

Ms. Holt was alone at home on the night of February 5 when a man broke into her house and pointed the pair of scissors at her. The man — identified as James H. Davis III, aged 32 — was naked and covered with cuts and blood after he broke a window to gain entrance. Police suspect Davis suffers from a mental illness.

Ms. Holt said Davis assured her he wouldn’t harm her, but he did force her, fully clothed, to take a bath with him before locking her in the basement. She said she did stretches and meditative breathing to stay warm and calm. “I didn’t think I was going to live,” she told the local CBS station.

Ms. Holt’s eldest daughter Meredith Holt-Caldwell, who lives in Seattle, first twigged that something was amiss when her mother did not send her daily Wordle score.

The game consists of guessing one five-letter word per day in just six tries. Its popularity has skyrocketed since the start of the year, with millions of people playing it daily.

Ms. Holt said the missing score was “disconcerting” to her daughter — who knew her mother never missed this part of their daily routine. After her mother also failed to answer her messages, she called the police.

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