Recently unsealed federal documents revealed disturbing details after a man aboard a July 31 Southwest Airlines flight was reportedly caught texting about sexually assaulting young children.
Los Angeles Times reports that Michael Kellar, 56, exchanged text messages with Gail Burnworth, 50, while on a flight in route to San Jose, California, from Washington. Court documents indicate that Kellar was taking a work-related trip, but allegedly began texting with Burnworth about meeting children who lived with her that he wanted to sexually assault.
A preschool teacher aboard the flight and seated directly behind Kellar, noticed the conversation because he apparently didn’t try to hide his large font typing. She snapped a photo of the conversation and took it to a crew member, who called the police. Authorities detained Kellar when he exited the plane in San Jose. Burnworth was arrested in Washington shortly after, and the children were taken into state custody.
The pair reportedly discussed drugging and raping two children, ages five and seven, that lived with Burnworth, but apparently may not have been her biological children. Another child who lived with Burnworth was not discussed during the text messages. Burnworth told Kellar that she would have the two children to herself on the following weekend, and that she planned to drug them with Benadryl, then record herself molesting them.
Leader of the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children task force, San Jose police Sgt. Brian Spears, said that the preschool teacher’s actions that day saved the children from abuse that would have likely affected them for a lifetime.
“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. I feel she is absolutely a hero and was paramount to this investigation.”
Spears made a personal trip to speak to the hero teacher in person shortly after the incident.
“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. She was emotional. She said ‘I just knew something was wrong’ and she felt it in her heart.”
Court documents indicated that Kellar told police that talking about the children via text messages was his way of living out a fantasy without actually hurting children. Burnworth admitted that also had fantasies of molesting children. She allegedly admitted that she “probably” would have helped Kellar molest the kids had they not gotten caught, and said that she’d already made around 20 hours of video of the children and sent them to him.
The messages between the pair suggested that Keller intended to carry out his “fantasies.”
“…you can do this or are you just saying this???” Keller asked.
“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,” Burnworth replied.
Both Burnworth and Keller are charged with attempted rape of a child, conspiracy to produce child pornography, and attempted enticement of a minor. Kellar is being held in California, awaiting extradition back to his home state of Washington.
[Feature Photo: Police Handout]