Missing teen reportedly not rescued thanks to viral TikTok help signal – Insider

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A man who called 911 leading to a teenage girl being rescued after she was reported missing in Kentucky has said he didn’t recognize a viral hand signal used to indicate help is needed, NBC News reports.
Contrary to prior statements from the Sheriff’s Office dealing with the case, David Isaacs said on Tuesday that he “didn’t recognize” the viral hand gesture, and that he called the police after noticing the girl was mouthing “help me” and appeared to be in distress, according to NBC News.
The 16-year-old girl, who is from Asheville, North Carolina, was reported missing by her parents on November 2 before being rescued two days later. She was riding as a passenger in a silver Toyota when Isaacs passed her on the interstate in Kentucky and called the police, Insider previously reported.
61-year-old James Herbert Brick was arrested by authorities on the same day. Brick, who was traveling with the teenager at the time she was found, was later charged with unlawful imprisonment and possession of content showing sexual activity by a minor, the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on their Facebook page on November 5.
According to this statement, Isaacs called 911 after he “noticed a female passenger in the vehicle making hand gestures that are known on the social media platform TikTok.” It stated that “the complainant advised 911 that the female appeared to be in distress.” 
On November 8, Deputy Laurel County Sheriff Gilbert Acciardo said in a televised statement that the people in the car behind Brick saw the girl’s hand gestures “and within recognizing that signal they notified 911.” It was widely reported that the girl was rescued thanks to the hand signal popularized on TikTok.
Isaacs said he did notice the hand motions, saying the girl kept “putting her four fingers out the window,” but added he “didn’t recognize a gesture,” NBC News reported. According to the outlet, Isaacs added, “She was mouthing ‘help me.’ She said ‘help me, help me’ twice. I think she even lip-synced ‘call 911.’ … It looked like she had been crying.”
The hand signal in question has spread on TikTok over the last year, after it was popularized by the “Signal for Help” campaign, which was launched in April 2020 by the domestic violence charity the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF). As explained in a YouTube video by the organization, each hand gesture has a separate message: “Violence at home,” “I need help,” and “domestic violence.”
The Laurel County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Insider attempted to reach Isaacs for comment but has not received a response.
For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.


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