A missing Asheville 16-year-old was recently found safe after she alerted passing drivers with a distress hand gesture she learned on TikTok.

People says police arrested 61-year-old James Brick of Cherokee, NC last Thursday afternoon. The arrest came after a 911 caller said they saw a female passenger in his car make a hand gesture that indicated she needed help.

The parents of the Asheville teen reported her missing on Tuesday. The teen told police that she had traveled with Brick through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and into Ohio. The statement given by Laurel County Sheriff’s Office says Brick is believed to have family members living in Ohio.

The teen used a hand gesture done silently with one hand. The palm faces outward with four fingers straight upright, and the thumb tucked in towards the center of the palm. Then, you bring all four fingers down “trapping” the thumb. This gesture spread widely on TikTok indicates domestic violence or can more generally mean “I need help”.

A motorist driving behind Brick’s car saw the teen making this gesture and recognized it. They called 911 and told the operator that the teen looked to be “in distress,” according to the police’s statement.

Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies then conducted a traffic stop, where they found inappropriate pictures of underage girls with Brick. They arrested him on charges of first-degree unlawful imprisonment and possession of matter sex performance by a minor over the age of 12 but under age 18, first offense.

The Woman’s Funding Network began a campaign last year called “Signal for Help” in order to raise awareness of hand gestures like this one that victims can use to more safely call out for help.

Source: People

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