Southwest Airlines passenger Michael Kellar, 56, was arrested on Monday for two counts of solicitation of a sex crime and two counts of attempted child molestation. He was booked into the central jail in Santa Clara County, CA.

Kellar, of Tacoma, WA, was aboard a flight from Seattle bound for San Jose. A woman seated behind him noticed Kellar allegedly texting about sexually assaulting children. The female passenger, then, used her smart phone to capture and save his text conversation, San Jose police stated. After the woman had notified the plane’s crew, the flight crew contacted law enforcement inside San Jose airport’s terminal.

Law enforcement detained the accused. San Jose Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) detectives arrived at the scene, as well as FBI agents from the agency’s San Francisco Division.

Suspect allegedly texting for sex with children arrested at airport

When the plane landed at Norm Mineta International Airport in San Jose, Kellar was arrested. According to police, the accused was using an enlarged font on a large-screen smart phone. The female passenger saw texts he allegedly sent to Gail Lynn Burnworth, 50, also of Tacoma.

Kellar was reportedly texting Burnworth about two child victims, who are five -years-old and seven-years-old, according to investigators. Initially, Kellar told law enforcement that he was merely role playing and engaging in a sexual fantasy with Burnworth.

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Kellar is being held without bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday morning, according to KTVU.

Woman accused of arranging sex with children arrested in Washington state

Burnworth was taken into custody at her home in Tacoma. She is charged with dealing in child pornography, child rape, and sexually exploiting a minor. Her bail is set at $1 million. Burnworth is locked up at the Pierce County Jail, Inside Edition reported. The children are in protective custody, KTVU also noted.

The passenger-witness, who alerted the flight crew to Kellar’s alleged illicit texts, is a Seattle pre-school teacher. She requested that her identity not be made public, according to Mercury News, San Jose.

Nick Jourdenais, a former San Jose sex crimes detective, said it is “mind-blowing” that the female witness boarded the plane minding her own business. Within a couple of hours, she intervened for the children, according to the Mercury News.

Jourdenais recounted his interview with the woman seated directly behind Kellar.

The Mercury News relayed that Kellar allegedly held his smart phone right in her “line of sight.” She told him that the messages quickly escalated from the topic of fetishes. When the subject shifted to children, the woman used her smart phone and started taking photos of Kellar’s texts, he explained.

Law enforcement hails woman passenger for alerting crew about accused pedophile passenger

Sergeant Brian Spears, who is the commander of San Jose Police Department’s ICAC task force, said, “Kudos to this young lady.” He is confident that it is due to law enforcement’s quick response that Kellar didn’t get away with allegedly sexually abusing the children.

Jourdenais and another officer interviewed Kellar, who allowed them to search his phone. After Kellar had dismissed the messages as role playing and fantasy, law enforcement contacted enforcement officers in Seattle.

Search leads to child victims of sex abuse

Detectives and FBI agents in the Seattle area pinpointed a home in Tacoma. Their search led them to the residence of the woman who is accused of texting with Kellar. They also verified that the case was worse than Kellar asserted: a five-year-old and a seven-year-old who lived in the home were victims of sexual abuse, according to the Mercury News.

Law enforcement claims that Burnworth was fulfilling Kellar’s sexual demands for the two children, the Mercury News reported. Jourdenais said the case exemplifies a powerful form of vigilance by the passenger-witness. “It was apparent to her to say something,” he stated.