A 16-year-old girl was rescued after she used a hand signal learned from TikTok to alert she was in danger. The teenager had been reported missing from North Carolina, USA, on November 2, Tuesday. She was spotted inside a car two days later in Kentucky.
According to the Laurel County Sheriff's Office, the teenager was inside a silver-colored Toyota car when a passerby saw her making hand gestures that are known on the social media platform TikTok to represent "violence at home - I need help - domestic violence".
"The complainant advised 911 that the female appeared to be in distress. In addition, the complainant noted that the vehicle was being driven by a male subject," police said in a statement.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SIGNAL— Halton Police (@HaltonPolice) August 24, 2021
Isolation can increase the risk of violence at home. Use this discrete gesture during a video call to show you need help:
1. Hold hand up with palm facing other person.
2. Tuck thumb into palm.
3. Fold fingers down over thumb. pic.twitter.com/gsIgSbXOmc
The driver called 911 and continued to follow the Toyota, updating the police on its location constantly.
Laurel County detectives and deputies managed to intercept the vehicle as it exited a highway and found that the teenager had been reported missing by her parents earlier that week.
Following the police stop, a 61-year-old man named James Herbert Brick was arrested.
The teenager, who has not been named, told police that she travelled through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and into Ohio with James Brick. In Ohio, he had relatives who realised that "the female in his custody was underage and reported missing."
"When the male subject's relatives realised that the female in his custody was under age and reported missing, the accused left Ohio traveling southbound and the female juvenile then began attempting to get motorists attention to call 911," police said.
The teenager used a hand signal that has been popularised on social media to signify domestic abuse. According to The Guardian, the gesture is believed to have been introduced by the Canadian Women's Foundation last year. It is used by women discreetly alert they are in danger when they can't ask for help outright.
During investigation, police found photos on Mr Brick's phone that that allegedly portrayed a juvenile female in a sexual manner. He has been charged with unlawful imprisonment and possession of material showing a sex performance by a minor over the age of 12 but under age 18.Click for more trending news