In-flight texts lead to arrest of man and woman accused of child exploitation

(KOMO File)

SEATTLE - Disturbing text messages spotted by a passenger on an airplane led to the arrest of a Tacoma woman and another man, accused of child exploitation and rape, according to Seattle Police.

Detectives in Seattle were contacted by members of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in San Jose, Calif. after a passenger reported seeing the text messages while on board a flight from Sea-Tac Airport to San Jose last month.

The passenger told investigators the man had a over-sized phone which displayed large text. The passenger said they witnessed the man texting disturbing content, which involved comments about sexual exploitation of children.

The concerned passenger was able to capture images of the texts and contacted authorities when the plane landed. The man was detained by police and San Jose ICAC detectives took over the case.

The detectives identified the text message recipient as a woman who lives in the Tacoma area. They also said the woman had access to children either as a caregiver or a babysitter.

San Jose detectives contacted Seattle Police, the lead ICAC agency in Washington State and detectives located the woman at a home in Tacoma. They said she lived there with her ex-husband, his wife and three children.

The detectives obtained search warrants for the Tacoma home and the residence of the man from the plane.

The woman was located, interviewed by detectives, then arrested and booked into the Pierce County Jail.

The King County Prosecutor's Office is now reviewing the case and the evidence recovered from the search warrants to determine charges. They've also contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine if any federal charges could apply.

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