TikTok Hand Gesture Helps To Save Tennessee Woman From Kidnapping

Image Credit: Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence / Twitter

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

A hand signal recently made popular on the TikTok social media app is being credited with prompting the rescue of a Tennessee woman who was the victim of an alleged domestic violence and kidnapping situation.

According to Hickman County Lieutenant Mike Doddo, the woman was visiting her brother on Sunday when her ex-boyfriend Johnathon Smith, 31, showed up. She agreed to get into his vehicle to talk.

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After asking to be released from the vehicle, the woman was threatened by Smith who allegedly told her he would kill her with a screwdriver. 

Smith pulled into a Twice Daily gas station around 1 p.m., after driving recklessly around, and walked inside with the woman, who came up with a way to discreetly get assistance.


Witness Eric Streeval says that he saw the woman mouth the word “help.” She then held up her hand, tucked her thumb down, and closed her four fingers over it. 

Image Credit; Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence – Twitter

Streeval and the store clerk recognized the hand gesture as one that was popularized on TikTok as a way to alert others to a need for help during a situation involving domestic violence.

Gas station staff called 911 as the clerk attempted to stall the man by pretending that there was a problem with the cash register. The man grew nervous and left with the woman.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived as he was leaving and engaged in a high-speed chase of the vehicle, following it until it crashed in Dickson County.

Smith attempted to escape on foot but was tased an arrested. He was charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated domestic assault.

Streeval happens to be a part of a motorcycle group that works to provide help to women who are victims of domestic violence. His recognition of the signal potentially saved the woman’s life.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

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