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AWOL soldier accused in base intrusion now in jail

TAMPA – An AWOL soldier who allegedly tried to drive onto MacDill Air Force base in an SUV loaded with weapons and ammunition sat in a county jail Wednesday, as military officials refused to answer questions about what he might have been planning to do.

Christopher Paul Kilburn, 26, was being held on a military warrant at the Hillsborough County Jail after being transferred from MacDill, which houses the command center for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Authorities said he deserted his Army unit based at Fort Riley, Kan. His ex-wife, Maureen Kilburn, told The Tampa Tribune that he had been on the run for several months.

“He is being given over to the Army,” said Senior Airman Katherine B. Holt, a MacDill spokeswoman. “I can’t speak on motive or anything like that.”

MacDill officials said Kilburn and a companion, Micah Noel Goodier, tried to gain access to the base Monday at a remote gate using fake military identification. A security officer became suspicious, and the couple cooperated when they were asked by officers to get out of the car.

The couple’s Honda CRV contained three handguns, three rifles and some ammunition, Air Force Col. Dave Cohen said. He said that officials don’t believe it was an attempt at terrorism.

Holt said any charges against Kilburn would be brought by the Army back at Fort Riley. Goodier was released Wednesday. Steve Cole, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said no charges have been filed against her pending a review of the evidence.

Kilburn’s ex-sister-in-law, Jennifer Nelson Spitzer, told the Tribune that Kilburn and his wife divorced six months ago, and the family didn’t know his whereabouts. The couple has a 5-year-old daughter.

Spitzer said they found out he was AWOL in April when someone from the Army called looking for him.