San Jose

Woman in Child Sex Abuse Case Back in Custody After Being Released

The woman in a child sex abuse case was re-arrested Friday after being released overnight.

Gail Burnworth is one of the suspects allegedly part of a texting conversation spotted by an alert passenger on a flight to San Jose that led to two arrests.

Burnworth, 50, was released after being held in jail for three days because no formal charges were filed against her. She was back behind bars Friday and prosecutors said their case is still strong.

Investigators said she was texting back and forth with 56-year-old Michael Kellar as he sat on a flight from Seattle to San Jose.

An alert passenger said she noticed the disturbing messages.

"The conversations were very particular in regards to sex acts that were to be performed on a child, children," San Jose Police Sgt. Brian Spears.

The passenger reported it to Southwest Airlines staff, who called ahead to San Jose police and Keller was arrested.

Workers at the Union City branch of the Hartung Glass Company said Kellar was flying into the area to be the new location manager.

Investigators said Burnworth was arrested with what they called two young victims. She was released Thursday night from a Tacoma jail because the state did not formally charge her.

But on Friday the FBI re-arrested her on a federal warrant for conspiracy to produce child pornography. Detectives said the case is still solid all thanks to the Good Samaritan -- a preschool teacher who saw something -- and spoke up.

"For her, her kids are her life. And because the messages involve children, that got her attention even more," Seattle Police Department Capt. Mike Edwards said. "She saved these children from horrific abuse. For that, she should be commended."

Kellar will go in front of a judge in San Jose on Monday.

Burnworth faces a federal judge in Seattle on Monday.

Contact Us