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Deputies credit TikTok video for helping rescue teen girl

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 10:57 PM EDT
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LONDON, Ky. (WKYT) -A 16-year-old girl from North Carolina has been reunited with her family after Laurel County deputies say she was using hand signals to passing cars to ask for help.

Deputies say someone called 911 saying they saw the girl giving the signal as the car she was in drove down I-75 south Thursday afternoon.

The hand gestures signal violence at home, “I need help” or domestic violence. It originated from the Canadian Women’s Foundation but has spread around the globe. The signal is a hand up, palm out, with the thumb tucked then folding the fingers down.

Previous | Police: 16-year-old girl rescued after using hand gestures from TikTok

Deputies tell WKYT the person who called 911 stayed on the phone with dispatchers as they followed the car and approached the London exit, where deputies stopped the car.

James Herbert Brick, 61, from Cherokee, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with unlawful imprisonment and possession of a matter of sex performance by a minor over 12 but under 18.

The girl left her Asheville home Tuesday. Deputies say Brick knew the girl’s family, but it’s unclear why the two met up. They had been in Ohio prior to getting stopped in London.

“We don’t know how long coming down the interstate from Ohio that she had been doing this to other motorists hoping that they would notice that she was in distress,” said Deputy Gilbert Acciardo.

“I’ve been doing this work for a long time, where we talk about safety with survivors,” said Darlene Thomas, the executive director at Greenhouse 17 in Lexington. “Like with neighbors how you flip your light on or do you have a certain code word to text that would say you need help or in danger, and I think this is just another platform to do so.”

Brick was taken to Laurel County Correctional Center.

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