Snooping can save lives!
A preschool teacher on a Southwest Airlines flight helped police save two young children from molestation after spotting the man in front of her texting disturbing messages.
San Jose Police said that the woman was flying from Seattle to San Jose on Monday when she noticed the passenger sitting directly in front of her sending repulsive texts about sexually molesting young children.
Due to the man’s big screen and enlarged font, the woman was able to read and take pictures of the messages and notify the flight crew.
San Jose sex crimes detective Nick Jourdenais explained to the Mercury News:
“It was in large font, and she sees certain words and starts contemplating there’s something bigger there. Then the conversation transitions to children. That’s the moment when she decided to preserve the evidence as best as she could.”
An officer working inside the terminal was alerted once the plane landed. Police and FBI agents then detained the culprit Michael Kellar (above, left) in the airport terminal.
Detectives were able to use evidence from the 56-year-old’s phone to track down the home of the woman he was texting with. The woman, Gail Burnworth (above, right), and Kellar both reside in Tacoma, Washington.
According to investigators, Burnworth was carrying out Kellar’s sexual requests on two children, a 5-year-old and 7-year-old, whom the police have identified as victims.
Burnworth, 50, was reportedly working as a babysitter. Police declined to comment on how she and Keller knew each other, or their relationship to the children.
Police are calling the preschool teacher a hero for her quick thinking in preserving the texts. Jourdenais added:
“It’s kind of mind-blowing. 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.”
Kellar is being held at the Santa Clara County jail on two felony counts of attempted child molestation, as well as two felony counts of solicitation of a sex crime.
Burnsworth was booked at Pierce County jail in Washington for felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, rape of a child, and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
[Image via San Jose Police Dept..]