A Hand Gesture and an Alert Bystander Rescue 16-year-old from Alleged Predator

A hand gesture made by a 16-year-old girl to a nearby driver saved her from what may have been a much more terrible fate.

The girl from North Carolina gestured to someone in a construction area just north of London. The gesture, starting with a hand up palm toward the viewer, then tucking the thumb into the palm and bringing down the fingers, has been used on video calls to signal the other viewers on the call that the person feels threatened. In this case, the young woman used it to signal for help. The other person called 911 and stayed with the vehicle until police arrived and pulled over the silver-colored Toyota.

Police arrested 61-year-old James Herbert Brick for unlawful imprisonment and possession of a matter of sex performance with a minor over 12 but under 18. Laurel County Sheriff John Root announced the rescue and the return of the young woman to her family.

The teen had been reported missing on Tuesday morning from Ashville, North Carolina. After police pulled the vehicle over, they were able to identify as the same young women.

A hand gesture made popular on the social media site TikTok may have saved the young woman’s life.

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