An alert Southwest passenger alerted the flight crew about a man sitting next to her who was texting about sexually abusing children.
Michael Kellar, 56, of Tacoma, Washington, was arrested after his flight from Seattle landed in San Jose, California Monday. During his flight, according to officials, Kellar was texting Gail Burnworth, 50, about sexually abusing children and bestiality.
“The conversations were very particular in regards to sex acts that were to be performed on … children,” San Jose Police Sgt. Brian Spears told NBC Bay Area. “Some of the sex acts talked about not only molesting children but performing bestiality.”
The woman sitting next to Kellar saw the text messages because he was using an unusually large font. She took photos of the text messages and showed them to the flight crew, who contacted the authorities.
After an investigation, Burnworth, who works as a child care provider for two children believed to be victims of the sexual abuse, was arrested at her home in Tacoma, too. It’s alleged that Burnworth is in a relationship with Kellar.
San Jose police Sgt. Brian Spears described the female passenger as an “early childhood educator” in the Seattle area. “In my eyes, she is our hero,” he said, because she prevented a “catastrophic” and “horrific” event, which had already been planned.
“If it wasn’t for that young lady’s actions, another sexual assault would have occurred,” Spears said.
Kellar has been booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on two counts of felony attempted child molestation and two counts of felony solicitation of a sex crime.
Burnworth was booked into the Pierce County Jail in Washington state for felony sexual exploitation of a minor, felony rape of a child in the first degree and felony dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
The victims in the case are 5 and 7 years old.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)