A teenager from North Carolina, USA, who was missing, was rescued by Kentucky State Police after asking for help by making hand gestures known on TikTok to represent domestic violence, according to police.
The 16-year-old girl’s parents reported their daughter’s disappearance on Tuesday, according to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office in Kentucky. On Thursday, a Kentucky driver called the 911 emergency number to report seeing a girl in distress in a vehicle on the highway.
“The driver was behind the vehicle and noticed a female passenger making hand gestures that are known on the social network TikTok for representing violence at home – I need help – domestic violence,” says the statement published on Friday by the cabinet.
The gesture is made with one hand and can be used by anyone when in danger, according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. To use the sign, the person must raise the hand with the palm facing outwards, then place the thumb in the palm of the hand and close the other fingers to secure the thumb.
Police told the WYMT channel, affiliated with CNN, that the teenager had learned the gesture on TikTok. The person who filed the 911 report followed the other vehicle for 11 kilometers transmitting information to police, according to WYMT. The police were then able to locate the car and rescue the young woman.
The suspect originally took the North Carolina teenager to Ohio, where he has a family, police said. They left Ohio after relatives discovered the girl was a minor and reported missing, also according to police.
“We don’t know how long while they were driving from Ohio she was doing this for other drivers, hoping they’d notice she was in danger, but someone finally recognized it,” Gilbert Acciardo, Laurel County Sheriff’s Assistant, told WYMT.
Police arrested the man on Thursday and charged him with unlawful imprisonment and possession portraying an issue of sexual performance by a minor (over 12 but under 18).
Reference: CNN Brasil