The messages sent by an alleged paedophile who was arrested after a woman sitting behind him on a plane spotted him discussing abusing children have been revealed.
Michael Kellar, 56, was detained on 31 July after a fellow passenger on the Southwest Airlines flight from Seattle, Washington, to San Jose, California, saw the messages and reported him to authorities.
The graphic content of the texts has now been released in court documents, revealing that Kellar was allegedly discussing plans to drug and rape two young children.
The conversation, with fellow Tacoma, Washington, resident Gail Burnworth, 50, allegedly included Burnworth saying she would sedate the children, aged five and seven, with anti-histamine drug Benadryl before molesting them while they slept and then filming Mr Keller raping them. Burnworth is said to have had contact with the potential victims as their babysitter.
The messages were spotted by an unnamed nursery school teacher who was on her way to visit family. She alerted a flight attendant who then told police, leading to Kellar being arrested and questioned when the flight landed in San Jose.
Other messages found on their phones allegedly showed Kellar and Burnworth discussing bestiality. Prosecutors said Burnworth had already made up to 20 videos of the two victims and sent them to Kellar.
Both suspects have been charged with attempted enticement of a minor, including rape of a child and conspiracy to produce child pornography.
Speaking about the passenger who alerted authorities, Sergeant Brian Spears, who leads the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children taskforce, said: “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.”
The police officer visited the woman the next day to thank her in person.
“I felt that she needed to be told in person she is our hero,” he said. “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.”
Prosecutors said both Kellar and Burnworth had admitted to being aroused by children but had claimed their conversations were just “fantasies”.
However, the text exchange allegedly included Kellar messaging Burnworth saying: “You can do this or are you just saying this???”
She is alleged to have replied: “No I think I…