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08th Nov 2021

Kidnapped teen rescued by using emergency hand gestures learned on TikTok

Laura Grainger

The gestures on the social media app are understood to represent “I need help,” police said.

A teenage girl who had been kidnapped was rescued after she used emergency hand gestures circulated on TikTok to alert other motorists.

Authorities arrested 61-year-old James Herbert Brick, from North Carolina in the US, on Thursday after receiving an emergency call about a young female passenger who “appeared to be in distress,” per reports.

The 16-year-old made hand gestures circulated on the social media app to represent “violence at home – I need help – domestic violence,” police said.

Authorities located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop, during which they questioned Brick and the teen in his car.

“It was learned through investigation that the female passenger was a reported missing juvenile – reported by her parents on Tuesday morning missing from Asheville, North Carolina,” Laurel County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

“A check through NCIC confirmed that she was a reported missing person.”

@nowthisIf you see someone make this secret hand signal it means they need help. Feat. @jackienpadilla #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner

♬ original sound – nowthis

The missing teen told investigators that Brick had brought her through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio after her family reported her missing.

When his relatives in Ohio realised the teen was a missing minor, Brick left the state and headed back toward North Carolina.

As they drove between states, the victim began making the viral hand gestures she learned on TikTok in a bid to get help from other motorists.

Officials also discovered a phone of Brick’s to have “allegedly portrayed a juvenile female in a sexual manner.”

He is now facing kidnapping and child pornography charges as an investigation is ongoing.