FBI arrests Tacoma woman on federal warrant for conspiracy to produce child porn

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TACOMA, Wash. — The FBI on Friday arrested Gail Burnworth, 50, of Tacoma, on a federal warrant for conspiracy to produce child pornography.

This arrest came after San Jose, Calif.,  police  arrested Michael Kellar, 56, in that city’s airport Monday night after a flight from Seattle. Kellar’s alleged child-sex texts on the flight led officers to Burnworth, also known as Gail McLean.  She was arrested in Tacoma on state charges earlier this week; the federal arrest is on a separate warrant. Both suspects live in Tacoma.

During a news conference on Thursday in San Jose, Calif., an investigator explained how a plane passenger told authorities that Kellar was sitting in front of her and texting about the sexual abuse with a large font on a large smartphone. The font and screen were so big that the passenger was able to take photos of Kellar’s text conversation, police said.

The passenger, who police didn’t identify, alerted the flight crew. A flight attendant notified an officer stationed at the airport, and Kellar was arrested there.

Police said that, as a result of the arrests, two young victims, ages 5 and 7, in Tacoma had been rescued from a planned assault and taken into protective custody. Authorities say Burnworth had access to children as a baby-sitter and that Kellar was getting to the victims through her.

“Extremely disturbing — some of the sex acts talked about not only molesting the children, but performing bestiality,” San Jose Police Sgt. Brian Spears said.

Seattle and San Jose police declined to discuss the children’s relationship to the suspects and how Kellar and Burnworth knew each other.

 

“I’d like to highlight that if it wasn’t for this particular passenger taking action to alert the staff and alert the police, this catastrophic event would have been horrific,” Spears said. “In my eyes, she is our hero. That’s what I’m here for – to recognize her for her heroic actions.”

Keller is accused of attempted child molestation and solicitation of a sex crime. Burnworth was arrested by local police on suspicion of child rape and sexual exploitation of children.

The federal charge would be in addition to those state charges.

 

 

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