Detectives arrested a man and a Tacoma woman earlier this week after text messages sent on an airplane prompted an investigation of child sexual exploitation and rape.
One passenger onboard a July 31 flight from Seattle to San Jose, Calif. contacted authorities when their plane landed Monday. Police said the witness observed disturbing text messages that included comments about the sexual exploitation of children.
The phone was oversized and had a large font that enabled the witness to see it. San Jose police detained the suspect and detectives from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force took over the investigation.
The recipient of the man's text messages was tracked to a woman in Tacoma. Detectives also discovered the woman had access to children either as a caregiver or babysitter, police said.
Authorities in San Jose contacted Seattle Police ICAC investigators, which is the lead ICAC task force in Washington state. A Seattle Police Department detective tracked down the Tacoma woman at her home.
Police said she lived with her ex-husband, his wife, and three kids. A search warrant was served on the woman's home as well as the male suspect's home.
Detectives interviewed the female suspect and booked her into Pierce County Jail while the investigation continues.
The King County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the case and working with the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine if charges are necessary in Washington state or if federal charges are appropriate.
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