Authorities were able to find a missing 16-year-old girl after she caught the attention of a driver by using hand gestures popularized on the social media platform TikTok.
According to the Laurel County sheriff’s office in Kentucky, the girl was inside a silver colored Toyota car when another driver saw her using hand signals known on TikTok “to represent violence at home – I need help – domestic violence.”
After recognizing what the signals meant and seeing that the teen “appeared to be in distress,” the driver called 911, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The alert led to the arrest of 61-year-old James Herbert Brick of Cherokee, North Carolina.
Mr Brick, 61, was charged with unlawful imprisonment after being stopped in Laurel County, Kentucky, with the missing youngster in his back seat.
Officials say that the teenager had been reported missing by her parents in Asheville, North Carolina, last week.
According to the teenager, she had traveled with Brick through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.
People in distress have been encouraged to use the hand signal when they cannot speak openly about a dangerous situation they may be in.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SIGNAL
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
— Halton Police (@HaltonPolice) August 24, 2021