Man busted for child abuse after woman sees 'horrific' messages

Michael Kellar (L) and Gail Burnworth (R) (San Jose Police Department)
Michael Kellar (L) and Gail Burnworth (R). Photo credit: San Jose Police Department

A woman has been hailed as a hero after she saw a fellow passenger on a flight sending "horrific" text messages about child sex abuse.

The two were on a flight from Seattle to San Jose when the woman saw the man in the next row texting in a large font. When she read what he was sending, she was horrified and immediately alerted the cabin crew.

A San Jose police spokesperson said the man was texting about "horrific" and "catastrophic" attacks on two young children, aged five and seven.

"The conversations were very particular in regards to sex acts that were to be performed on children," the spokesperson said.

"Some of the sex acts talked about not only molesting children, but performing bestiality."

The passenger has been labelled a "hero" by authorities for her action, snapping photos of his messages on her own phone and quietly alerting cabin staff.

Michael Kellar, 56, was arrested in the airport after the flight landed, while the messages also led to the arrest of 50-year-old Gail Burnworth.

Police said Burnworth was a babysitter and had access to children, including a five- and seven-year-old.

Kellar has been charged with child molestation and the solicitation of a sex crime, while Burnworth has been charged with child rape and sexual exploitation of children.