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Man faces kidnapping, child pornography charges after missing teen uses hand signals from TikTok 


North Carolina ‘pedophile’, 61, is arrested after ‘girl, 16, he’d abducted with his car used secret hand signal she learned on TIKTOK to show other drivers that she was in trouble’

  • James Brick, 61, was arrested for kidnapping a 16-year-old girl from North Carolina, and was apprehended in Kentucky on November 4 
  • The missing teen was performing a hand gesture she learned from TikTok to alert drivers that she was in danger
  • The gesture, which features victims slowly curling their fingers around their thumbs, is meant to alert people of domestic abuse
  • Investigators also allegedly found child pornography in Brick’s possession  


A suspected pedophile was arrested for abducting a 16 year-old girl after she used an emergency hand signal she saw on TikTok to alert other drivers to her plight, cops say.   

Laurel County Sheriff’s officers in Kentucky arrested James Brick, 61, on November 4 after receiving a call on Thursday about a 16-year-old girl in his car making hand gestures known on TikTok that represent domestic violence. 

It was seen by someone driving behind Brick’s vehicle, with the girl subsequently telling police she’d been abducted from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, and driven through her home state, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. 

Her parents had reported her missing.  

The signal, demonstrated on multiple TikTok accounts, including one set up by news site NowThis, sees a person raise their palm and tuck their thumb, then lower their fingers so that the thumb is ‘trapped’ inside them, with the signal resembling a clenched fist. 

It is designed to show others that the signaler is suffering from domestic abuse.  

One driver called in about the teen in a silver Toyota who ‘appeared to be in distress’ making hand gestures known on the social media app to represent ‘violence at home – I need help,’ the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office said.   

James Brick, 61, was arrested for kidnapping a 16-year-old girl in North Carolina. Drivers on the interstate spotted the girl making emergency hand signals from TikTok in his car

Many on TikTok have shared videos on how to discretely perform the hand sign in order to combat domestic abuse. The teen said she learned the sign from these types of videos

Many on TikTok have shared videos on how to discretely perform the hand sign in order to combat domestic abuse. The teen said she learned the sign from these types of videos

This graphic explains how the hand signal used by the girl works

This graphic explains how the hand signal used by the girl works 

‘It was learned through investigation that the female passenger was a reported missing juvenile – reported by her parents on Tuesday morning missing from Asheville, North Carolina,’ the Laurel Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. ‘A check through NCIC confirmed that she was a reported missing person.’ 

The missing teen told police that she and Brick had traveled to Ohio, where Brick’s family lived, but left shortly after his family realized she was underaged and reported missing by her parents. 

She began making the hand signs that she learned on TikTok when they were driving back to North Carolina on Interstate 75, where drivers she caught the attention of other drivers. 

Officers quickly arrested Brick and also found a phone in his possession ‘that allegedly portrayed a juvenile female in a sexual manner.’

It is unclear if that is the same girl was the teenager found in the car. Cops have also yet to explain whether Brick knew his alleged victim before the attack, and more details about how he had been able to take her.  

Brick was charged with kidnapping and possession of child pornography and jailed at the Laurel County Correctional Center. 

The Laurel County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation over the incident is still on-going.

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