A plane passenger noticed the man sitting in front of her sending chilling text messages about molesting children on Monday. The man aboard the Southwest Airlines flight from Seattle to San Jose had a large screen, so the preschool teacher was able to take photographs of the texts, and show them to the flight crew.
“It was in large font, and she sees certain words and starts contemplating there’s something bigger there,” San Jose sex-crimes Detective Nick Jourdenais told the Mercury News. “Then the conversation transitions to children. That’s the moment when she decided to preserve the evidence as best as she could.”
According to a press release from the San Jose Police Department, upon landing, police working inside the airport were alerted. Police and FBI agents arrested 56-year-old Michael Kellar of Tacoma, Washington in the terminal. Police said he was texting 50-year-old Gail Burnworth, who was allegedly acting out Kellar's sexual requests on two children, ages 5 and 7.
Kellar was arrested on two felony counts of attempted child molestation and two felony counts of solicitation of a sex crime. Burnworth was arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor, rape of a child, and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
In the end, the pre-school teacher saved two children, all by being observant.
“It’s kind of mind-blowing,” Jourdenais said. “She gets on a plane, a normal citizen minding her business. A couple of hours later, she’s intervening on quite possibly the most traumatic thing children can go through. This was life-altering for them.”
[Photo: San Jose Police Department]