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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

16-Year Old Teen Uses Hand Signals Popularized on TikTok to Save Herself from Kidnapper

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Vernique is an independent correspondent from Augusta, GA - USA

A teen reported missing on November 2nd by her parents from Asheville, North Carolina was rescued in London, Kentucky two days later after a driver noticed that she was making hand gestures that signaled she was in distress. The hand gestures which represent domestic violence, violence at home and/or I need help were all recognized by the nearby driver as signals known on TikTok.

Below is a video with 8.1 million views on TikTok demonstrating an example of one of the popular distress signals.


stay safe. #greenscreenvideo

♬ original sound – 𝓡𝓾𝓫𝓮𝓷

Upon the driver’s realization, 911 was called and alerted to look out for a silver Toyota car. The silver Toyota, driven by 61 year old Herbert Brick of Cherokee, North Carolina, was then followed by the claimant whilst they updated the sheriff’s department on the vehicle’s whereabouts. Police positioned themselves at the exit that Brick was getting off on, conducted a traffic stop and then conducted an investigation on the occupants of the vehicle (thanks to the tipoff from the claimant). During that investigation a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) check was performed and confirmed the female passenger was a reported missing person.

The girl also was mouthing “send help,” Lt. Chris Edwards of the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office testified and was visibly upset when deputies got to her. “She was physically shaking, crying,” Edwards said. (KTLA 5) She then revealed to authorities that she and Brick had traveled through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and into Ohio where he had relatives. Once his relatives realized the girl was underaged and reported missing, Brick decided to leave and subsequently the female passenger began to signal for help. While investigating, police also found a phone in Brick’s possession that allegedly depicted an underage female in a sexual manner.

James Brick was charged with unlawful imprisonment – first-degree; possession of matter sex performance by a minor over the age of 12 but under age 18 – first offense after the initial investigation. At Tuesday’s court hearing Laurel County judge John Paul Chappell approved a prosecutor’s request to up the unlawful imprisonment charge to kidnapping also increasing Brick’s bond from $10,000 to $50,000. The case was then sent to a grand jury which is expected to convene on November 19th. (LEX 18)

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