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Kidnapping charge added against suspect in TikTok hand signal rescue case

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:59 AM EST
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LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The man accused of holding a teenage girl against her will, who was found by a driver who recognized a hand gesture for help in southern Kentucky, was back in court Tuesday morning.

James Herbert Brick was facing charges of unlawful imprisonment and possession of matter of a sexual performance by a minor. In court Tuesday, a charge of kidnapping was added against him and the judge raised Brick’s bond from $10,000 to $50,000.

Brick was arrested Thursday afternoon and the 16-year-old girl he was with was returned to her family in North Carolina.

The detective testified in court Tuesday the girl’s family knew Brick, because they lived close to one another at a campground in Cherokee, North Carolina. When she left with him, her family reported her missing.

Police say they made it to Ohio where Brick’s relatives became concerned of the relationship. The pair then left and headed south through Kentucky.

The detective says the girl was “scared to death” after Brick told her “that if she tried to run away, he would kill her animals, her pet dog, and himself in front of her.”

She began looking for ways to escape. She then used the ‘distress call’ hand gesture made popular on TikTok. A driver in Laurel County, who recognized the gesture, called police, which resulted in the rescue of the girl.

“From there, we got the female out of the vehicle, turned out to be a 16-year-old juvenile. Separated her from Mr. Brick. She indicated she was there, didn’t want to be. That she was very scared,” said Lt. Det. Chris Edwards, Laurel Co. Sheriff’s Office.

We have learned Brick was found with an inappropriate picture of the girl which, police say, he actually tried to delete from his phone.

Brick remains in jail. If he meets the bond, he’ll have to be under home incarceration.

Sheriff’s deputies have said Brick could face additional charges, and some of them could be levied by federal authorities.

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