The Southwest Airlines passenger whose sick texts were captured by a sharp-eyed fellow flier had been discussing plans to drug and molest young children, according to a federal complaint.
Tacoma, Wash., residents Michael Kellar, 56, and Gail Burnworth, 50, exchanged the twisted missives as Kellar was on the Seattle-to-San Jose flight July 31, according to the complaint, detailed in the LA Times.
They discussed drugging and raping two of the three children who lived with Burnworth, her ex-husband and her ex-husband’s wife, according to a federal complaint unsealed Monday.
One of the messages says the victims are 5 and 7 years old.
Another passenger snapped a photo of Kellar’s phone and alerted a flight crew member, who then notified police.
Kellar was collared at the San Diego airport, where he told cops the texts were merely fantasies that he discussed with Burnworth because they were into sexual fetishes.
Police alerted authorities in Seattle who tracked down Burnworth at a neighbor’s home where she was house-sitting.
Burnworth said she “probably” would have helped Kellar molest the children and admitted she had made up to 20 videos of the two victims and sent them to Kellar, according to the feds.
One of the messages the passenger photographed showed Kellar allegedly messaging Burnworth: “…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.”
The photo captured by the passenger revealed that Burnworth told Kellar that she would drug the kids with Benadryl, then record herself molesting them while they slept, the complaint said.
She also agreed to record Kellar raping the children, according to the complaint.
Other shocking messages found on the suspects’ phones showed them discussing bestiality.
If it had not been for the alert passenger, a vacationing preschool teacher, Kellar and Burnworth may have not been caught, said San Jose police Sgt. Brian Spears, the paper reported.
“One minute she is on her way to visit family on her vacation, the next thing you know her actions saved two children from continuous molestation,” said Spears, who leads the Silicon Valley’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
“I feel she is absolutely a hero and was paramount to this investigation,” added Spears, who later visited the woman to thank her for her efforts.
“I felt that she needed to be told in person she is our hero. I was blessed to meet her, gave her a big hug and said thank you,” Spears said. “She was emotional. She said, ‘I just knew something was wrong’ and she felt it in her heart.”
Kellar and Burnworth were charged with attempted enticement of a minor, including rape of a child and conspiracy to produce child pornography.