A missing teenager was saved from her alleged abductor after a motorist recognised her distress signal from TikTok.
James Herbert Brick, 61, is suspected of kidnapping a 16-year-old girl and owning a photo of her performing a sex act.
Brick's alleged victim raised a fist enclosed across the thumb to her passenger seat car window, when stopped at a junction on Thursday.
Another driver spotted her alarming gesture and called the police while following the vehicle from Interstate 75 in southern Kentucky.
According to Fox 8 News, the teenager being driven against her will in a Toyota Camry when she signalled for help.
The Laurel County Sheriff’s Office states the 16-year-old's fist around her thumb "represents violence at home – I need help – domestic violence."
Brick from Cherokee, North Carolina, was reportedly on his way to see relatives in Ohio when arrested, NYPost reports.
On Brick’s phone was a photo of a girl being portrayed in a sexual manner, police said.
The suspected child abductor was taken to the Laurel County Correctional Center where he was charged with unlawful imprisonment and possession of matter showing sex performances by a minor.
The teenager's worried family had reported her missing two days earlier on Tuesday.
Laurel County Deputy Gilbert Acciardo said the girl was willing to go with Brick to begin with but at some point that all changed.
Acciardo said: "I think she started fearing for her life," according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
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The SOS signal used gained popularity on TikTok during coronavirus lockdowns as a way for people to subtly ask for help from an unsafe situation at home.
In August, Halton Police in Ontario, Canada shared its Twitter followers instructions on how to perform the gesture.
It said: "Isolation can increase the risk of violence at home. Use this discrete gesture during a video call to show you need help: 1. Hold hand up with palm facing other person. 2. Tuck thumb into palm. 3. Fold fingers down over thumb."
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