An airline passenger helped police arrest a man on her flight after seeing messages on his phone about molesting young children, police say.
The suspect, 56-year-old Michael Kellar, was using a smartphone with a large screen and enlarged font settings on a Southwest Airlines flight from Seattle to San Jose on Monday, according to police. That allowed a female passenger behind Kellar to read his text messages during the flight.
After an already sexually explicit conversation began to involve children, the woman took pictures of the messages with her own phone, San Jose Police Department detective Nick Jourdenais told the Mercury News.
When Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in Seattle went to the home where the woman texting Kellar lived, they found two children ages 5 and 7 being sexually abused, the Mercury News reports. Kellar was allegedly making “sexual requests for the children,” which the woman, 50-year-old Gail Burnworth, would carry out.
The female passenger told the flight crew about the messages, who contacted police after landing at Mineta San José International Airport. Kellar was detained after he got off the flight.
Kellar was charged with two counts each of attempted child molestation and solicitation of a sex crime. Burnworth was also taken into custody in Tacoma, where she was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, rape of a child and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.