A missing 16-year-old girl was rescued after using a hand gesture signaling distress or domestic violence to alert a passing motorist.
The girl was spotted traveling in a silver Toyota near London, Kentucky in the US on November 4, The Guardian reported.
A passing driver called police after they saw “a female passenger in the vehicle making hand gestures that are known on the social media platform TikTok to represent violence at home – I need help – domestic violence,” Laurel County Sheriff’s Office said in a November 6 statement.
Police moved to watch for the passing Toyota and intercepted it as it left the highway.
Officers carried out a traffic stop, and a subsequent investigation revealed that the teenager had been reported missing by her parents days earlier.
The girl told police that she had traveled with the man through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio, all the while trying to catch motorists’ attention to call 911.
A James Herbert Brick, 61, was arrested at the scene after the police stop and charged with unlawful imprisonment.
The gesture used to indicate distress is believed to have been introduced by the Canadian Women’s Foundation last year.
It has been adopted by women around the world who need to discretely ask for help.
The gesture involves holding a hand up with the palm out and thumb tucked, then folding the fingers down.