Michael Keller, 56, was arrested after a Southwest Airlines flight from Seattle landed at Mineta San Jose International Airport on Monday after a fellow passenger saw him texting in a large font about the sexual abuse of children. His accomplice, Gail Burnworth, who was at the other end of his child sexual abuse texts, was also arrested and two children were rescued from abuse.

Passenger spots man texting about child sex abuse

A preschool teacher based in Seattle noticed a male passenger, seated in front of her on the Southwest Airlines flight, was sending texts in an enlarged font.

She couldn’t help but notice that the text related to the sexual abuse of children. Using her own phone, she took photos of the passenger’s texts and then showed them to a flight attendant, who contacted the police.

Male passenger arrested on arrival in San Jose

San Jose Police confirmed that Keller was arrested as the Southwest Airlines plane landed in San Jose. According to Sgt. Brian Spears, the texts were strongly related to sex acts to be performed on young children and relating not only to molesting them but also to bestiality. Spears said if it wasn’t for the actions of the woman passenger, the children would have been sexually assaulted again.

According to a report by NBC Bay Area, once police investigated the abuse, it also led to the arrest of Keller’s accomplice, 50-year-old Gail Burnworth, who was the one receiving the texts.

Even more disturbing, Burnworth was a childcare provider for the two children involved in the texts and had some kind of relationship with Kellar. Police also tracked down the two children in question, aged 5 and 7.

Passenger who spotted the illicit texts is a ‘hero’

As reported by the Mercury News, Nick Jourdeais, a sex-crimes detective with the San Jose Police, said the passenger who spotted the texts was a hero.

Saying it was “mind-blowing,” Jourdenais stated that when the preschool teacher got on the plane, she was a normal person, minding her own business, but only a few hours later, she intervened in what is probably the most traumatic thing a child can go through. He said their rescue from the offenders would be “life-altering” for the children.

Both parties are now in custody, with Kellar facing counts of felony solicitation of a sex crime and felony child molestation for both children. He is now in Santa Clara County Jail without bail. Burnworth is facing charges of first-degree felony rape of a child, sexual exploitation of a child and a charge relating to depicting minors in sexually explicit content. She is currently in Pierce County Jail in Washington.