TikTok might be notorious for subjecting youngsters to dangerous, life-threatening challenges every now and then, but this time, it managed to save a life.
A missing 16-year-old girl was rescued after using hand signs she learned on the social media platform TikTok to signal for help, according to Kentucky authorities.
The suspect, 61-year-old James Brick, of Cherokee, North Carolina was brought to justice after he allegedly kidnapped a teenage girl from North Carolina and transported her to Kentucky.
The teen managed to alert other drivers from Brick’s car by using the emergency hand signal, meant for victims of domestic violence. A driver picked up the signal, recognized it, and managed to call the police and report Brick’s vehicle.
The driver who spotted the teen flashing the signal called the police. They reported that they’d seen the girl in a silver Toyota who “appeared to be in distress.” The caller told police that they saw the girl making the gesture popularized by social media to represent “violence at home – I need help,” reported the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.
The girl, whose identity has not been revealed, later told police that she was kidnapped by Brick from her Asheville home. The suspected pedophile then drove through Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky before the police intervened. Her hand signal was noticed by another driver who alerted the Laurel County cops. Meanwhile, the girl’s parents had also reported her missing.
The victim’s parents had reported her missing, which helped police identify her quickly once they rescued her from Brick’s clutches.
If you are an avid TikTok user, it is highly likely that you have spotted dramatized videos, where women alert passers-by about their danger by making a peculiar hand signal. As specified by Women’s Funding Network, the signal involves the victim raising their palm and tucking their thumb, then they lower their fingers to give the illusion that the thumb is “trapped”. The signal resembles a clenched fist to any onlooker and alerts them about the signaller’s domestic abuse.
During the investigation, sheriff’s department investigators found a phone containing images that showed “a juvenile female in a sexual manner,” the sheriff alleged.
Brick is charged with first-degree unlawful imprisonment and possession of material depicting a sexual performance by a minor over 12 but under 18 (the latter as a first offense).
According to jail records, he’s locked up in the Laurel County Correctional Center on a $10,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 9 at 11:00 a.m.