LAUREL COUNTY, Kent. (WFLA) — A teenager was rescued Thursday after using hand signs she learned on social media platform Tik Tok to signal for help, according to authorities in Kentucky.
The Laurel County Sheriff’s Office said that a driver on I-75 called 911 after noticing a 16-year-old girl in a silver Toyota in front of her making gestures known on Tik Tok to signal for help in domestic violence situations.
While making the call, the watchful driver gave updates on the car’s location and said it was being driven by a man, later identified as James Herbert Brick, 61, of Cherokee, North Carolina.
The sheriff’s office office said detectives stopped Brick as he left the interstate on exit 41. The investigators learned that the girl was reported missing Tuesday out of Asheville, North Carolina.
The teenager told authorities she went with Brick, who took her to Ohio to stay with his relatives. When Brick’s relatives learned the teenager was underage and missing, Brick left Ohio and began traveling south, deputies said.
It was at this point that the girl tried to signal for help from drivers to get them to call 911 before finally getting recognized.
Investigators said Brick also had a phone with sexual material involving an underaged girl. He now faces charges for first-degree unlawful imprisonment and possession of matter sex performance by a minor over the age of 12 but under age 18 – first offense.
As of this report, Brick is still in the Laurel County Correctional Center.
Domestic violence experts have suggested using signals to ask for someone to reach out safely. The Canadian Women’s foundation demonstrates the signals in the video below.
According to USA Today, the signals gained more popularity following the rise in domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.