It began as a typical flight from Seattle, Washington to San Jose, California for an early education instructor and ended with a Tacoma couple’s arrest for child pornography.
The teacher had alerted the Southwest Airlines crew aboard the short-haul flight after she spotted a fellow passenger exchanging text messages alluding to the sexual abuse of children. In these texts, it’s alleged that Michael Kellar described drugging and raping children. These messages, which had been exchanged with his partner, Gail Burnworth, were later reported to the police.
The two children being discussed in the text exchange had been living with Burnworth and were described as being between the ages of 5 and 7-years-old. Burnworth allegedly told Kellar that she would drug the children with Benadryl and molest them as they slept so she could record the acts. Police confiscated Kellar’s phone to examine the texts. Kellar explained they were nothing more than a fantasy.
The LA Times quoted one text as reading:
“…you can do this or are you just saying this???” Burnworth replied, “No I think I can do it if I don’t have parents over my shoulder or worried about who’s going to walk in on me And then on Sunday I will have the kids no parents just kids.”
Tacoma police were able to catch up with Burnworth after receiving their own reports about the text messages and took her in for questioning. Burnworth, who had been a caregiver for the children discussed in the exchange, admitted that she and Kellar shared sexual fetishes and admitted she had sent Kellar up to 20 videos of the victims.
Burnworth is being charged with the sexual exploitation of a minor, first-degree rape of a child and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, WTVR reports. Burnworth was released after 72 hours but the FBI quickly apprehended her on a federal warrant for conspiracy to produce child pornography.
Kellar, who was not found in possession of the child pornography at the time of the questioning, was arrested by San Jose police. He is being charged with two counts of attempted child molestation and two counts of solicitation of a sex crime.
As for the woman who reported the texts, the police are now applauding her for reporting her suspicions and saving the two child victims from further harm.