VIDEO: Man texting about child sex abuse on San Jose-bound flight leads to arrests


SAN JOSE (KRON) — A man was arrested Monday after a woman saw him texting about alleged child sex crimes on a flight headed to San Jose, according to police.

A woman on a Southwest Airlines flight saw a man, later identified as Michael Kellar, who was sitting in front of her texting with an enlarged font.

The woman alerted flight crew after she saw Kellar texting about sexually molesting young children, police said.

When the flight landed, a crew member contacted a San Jose Police Officer working inside the terminal at the San Jose International Airport.

Officers detained Kellar and detectives immediately responded to the scene along with the San Francisco Division of the FBI.

Further investigation revealed a woman in Tacoma, Washington, engaged in the inappropriate sexual texts with Kellar, police said.

Police also identified two children, ages 5 and 7, as victims.

The woman arrested was some sort of child care provider, not the mother, police said in a press conference Thursday.

In the press conference, police hailed the woman who saw the texts as a hero. They said she stopped a “planned event” from happened that involved a child being sexually abused.

Gail Burnworth was taken into custody at her Tacoma residence by police.

Kellar was 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, Washington Jail for felony sexual exploitation of a minor, felony rape of a child and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Persons with information regarding this incident or any other similar incidents are urged to contact Detective Nick Jourdenais and Detective Sergeant Brian Spears of the San Jose PD’s ICAC Unit at (408) 537-1397.

Here is a statement from Southwest Airlines:

Local Law Enforcement in San Jose, California have taken over an investigation that began after a complaint from a Customer on a flight from Seattle to Mineta San Jose International Airport on Monday, July 31. A Customer relayed concerns to a Flight Attendant after seeing content on a cell phone belonging to another Customer seated nearby.

Southwest is working with local authorities as part of the investigation. We always encourage our Customers to report suspicious activity to Employees or Law Enforcement.



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