(LONDON, Ky.) — A 16-year-old girl held captive by a 61-year-old man was rescued on an interstate highway in Kentucky after another driver noticed her using a distress signal with her hand that was made popular on TikTok, law enforcement officials said.
The girl’s parents reported their daughter missing from Asheville, North Carolina, last week. Two days later, her hand-signal—and the alert driver—enabled sheriff’s deputies in Kentucky to stop the car and arrest James Herbert Brick of Cherokee, North Carolina, on charges of unlawful imprisonment and possession of material showing a sexual performance by a minor, Deputy Gilbert Acciardo said.
The girl and the driver were acquainted, and she initially went with the man willingly, but at some point got scared, Acciardo, the spokesman for the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office, told TheLexington Herald-LeaderIt is. The man had taken her to Ohio to visit his relatives, and left with her after they realized she had been reported missing, a sheriff’s statement said.
On Thursday, the other driver dialed 911 from Interstate 75, Laurel County in Kentucky to report that a young girl driving a silver Toyota car made distress hand signals. He recognized them from TikTok and pleaded for assistance from domestic violence. You can signal by raising your hand with your thumb out, exposing your palm to the sky, and then placing your thumb in your palm. Next, lower your hands so that your thumb is trapped between your fingers.
Learn more The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Characterized by Domestic Violence
Officials state that the driver kept following the woman and her daughter, even updating the dispatcher. Eventually, deputies were in a position to pull over the Toyota and save the girl.
The sheriff’s statement says a cellphone found in the man’s possession had images that allegedly “portrayed a juvenile female in a sexual manner.” Brick was booked into the Laurel County correctional center on a $10,000 bond pending a court hearing on Tuesday.