Police: Missing Girl's Hand Signal Saved Her

16-year-old got help from passing motorist, and police arrested her driver
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2021 2:00 PM CDT
TikTok Signal Saves Girl
A signal introduced by the Canadian Women's Foundation can be used to discreetly signal for help.   (Canadian Women's Foundation/YouTube)

A teenage girl used a hand signal popularized on TikTok to signal for help. The 16-year-old from North Carolina had been missing for days when she was rescued Thursday, USA Today reports. James Herbert Brick, 61, of Cherokee, North Carolina, was arrested in Laurel County, Kentucky, and charged with unlawful imprisonment. Authorities say Brick and the teen were traveling from Ohio in a silver Toyota when another driver saw her use the signal and called 911. The caller stayed on the phone while following the car until it exited I-75 South and deputies took over, WKYT reports. Investigators say Brick had a phone with material on it that “allegedly portrayed a juvenile female in a sexual manner,” Laurel County Sherriff John Root said, per NBC News.

Deputies say the girl’s family knows Brick but did not say how the two wound up in a car together. The girl had left her home in Asheville, North Carolina, on Tuesday and had been with Brick for days. She said they had driven through Tennessee as well as North Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio. The gesture, which starts with a raised hand with the palm out and the thumb tucked in, then the fingers folded over the thumb, was introduced by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. The organization has posted a video demonstrating it, and diagram of it online. (More child abuse stories.)

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