A man believed to be an ex-boyfriend and business associate of the Southern California day spa owner killed in an office building explosion has been arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered destructive device.
The FBI announced the arrest of Stephen Beal, 59, on Thursday, following a search of his Long Beach home, agency spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a statement.
Eimiller stressed that Beal was not being held in connection with Tuesday’s explosion that killed Ildiko Krajnyak, 48, and injured three people at 11 Mareblu, in Aliso Viejo.
A neighbor said Beal and Krajnyak used to date, and that the man was often seen building big rockets on his lawn.
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Stephen Beal, 59, an ex-boyfriend of slain day spa owner Ildiko Krajnyak (pictured together on vacation), has been arrested on an unrelated explosives charge
Krajnyak, 48, (left and right) died and three other people were seriously injured in the blast at 11 Mareblu, in Aliso Viejo, California, on Tuesday
The explosion blew siding off the walls, exposing insulation and framing and shattering windows at the two-story building
Beal was expected to appear in US District Court in Santa Ana later Thursday. No additional details would be available until a federal criminal complaint is issued.
Beal’s Facebook page has many photos of him traveling with Krajnyak, a married mother-of-one of Coto de Caza, Orange County. Their travel destinations included Mexico, Canada and Portugal.
State documents show Beal and Krajnyak as officers in a skin care business called I&S Enterprises.
Krajnyak was a licensed cosmetologist who ran day spa Magyar Kozmetika out of the first floor of the building.
Authorities say the explosion occurred on the same floor, after a package was delivered.
The blast blew siding off the walls, exposing insulation and framing and shattering windows at the two-story building.
‘At this point, we do not believe this was an accident,’ said Paul Delacourt, special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles. ‘Our working theory is that this explosion was caused by a device.’
Pieces of the device found at the scene were being sent to the FBI’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, to be analyzed, he said.
Delacourt said investigators were still working to determine a motive and figure out exactly how the device was brought to the spa.
Stuart Davis, who lives a few doors down from Stephen Beal’s home in Long Beach, said he often saw Beal and his adult son working on large rockets on their front lawn. The son told Davis that they built movie props, he said.
Globetrotters: Beal’s Facebook page has many photos of him traveling with Krajnyak to places like Portugal, Mexico and Canada
Risky hobby: A neighbor said Beal (left and right) was often seen building big rockets on his lawn with his son
It’s complicated: Beal is a widower and Krajnyak was separated from her husband, but still living with him under the same roof
‘I’d come home from home sometimes and there would be rockets, but big, like something you’d see in a movie,’ Davis said.
Beal’s wife died six or seven years ago after she fell down the stairs inside two-story home in a tidy middle class neighborhood, Davis said.
Nathan Beal told The Associated Press on Thursday that his father built sport rockets fueled by a propellant that is legally available at specialty hobby shops. He believes federal agents may have found ‘motor cases made out of aluminum.’
The younger Beal also confirmed that Stephen had been in a relationship with the woman killed in the blast but they recently broke up.
Photos on Beal’s Facebook page, where he described himself as an actor and a member of the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union, showed him vacationing with Krajnyak in Cuba, sitting together on the beach and riding jet skis in Mexico and shopping in Portugal.
Meanwhile, friends of the victim set up a fundraising campaign to cover her funeral costs and fly her son home from Seattle, where he attends college.
Krajnyak was originally from Hungary and had just visited there, according to her Facebook page and a neighbor. Her Facebook page showed photos from her home country, including a selfie outside the clinic where she trained to become an aesthetician 30 years ago.
Her Orange County business offered services such as facials, waxing and wrinkle treatments.
Irene White, a friend, read a statement Wednesday on behalf of Krajnyak’s family, calling her death ‘a complete shock.’ The family asked for privacy as they mourn “a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend.” She said the family is cooperating with investigators.
Search warrants were served at the business and two other locations, including the Long Beach house.
They also searched Krajnyak’s house in Trabuco Canyon.
A neighbor there who would only give her first name as Tiffany said Krajnyak lived there with her estranged husband and mother, whom she cared for.
The couple, although separated, continued to live under the same roof, the neighbor said. Court records show they had filed jointly for bankruptcy in 2014 and the case was dismissed and closed Monday.
Firefighters and sheriff’s deputies escort children from Academy on the Hill pre-k school in Aliso Viejo on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, after a fatal explosion nearby
The deadly explosion at this Southern California office building is believed to be an intentional act and a result of a package
Krajnyak, a married mother-of-one of Coto de Caza, Orange County, was a licensed cosmetologist who ran day spa Magyar Kozmetika out of the first floor of the building
Two officials told The Associated Press that investigators believe the blast was caused by an explosive package that was specifically targeting the office where the explosion occurred. One of the officials said one of the victims was believed to be the target.
The officials were briefed on the investigation but not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes says the formal identification of the body was continuing but authorities believe it is that of Ildiko Krajnyak (IL-di-koh KRY-nyak), a licensed cosmetologist.
The two patrons who were injured underwent surgery Wednesday and expected to survive. A third victim was treated for smoke inhalation.
Bomb technicians and investigators from the sheriff’s department, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were sifting through debris left at the blast site.
Investigators said they hadn’t yet located an explosive device and were searching through debris.
The Tuesday afternoon blast shattered windows and forced children in a nearby daycare center to be evacuated.
The blast occurred on the first floor of the Aliso Viejo building in Orange County that was under renovation
In this photo taken from video provided by KABC-TV, children are evacuated from a preschool across the street from a building that was rocked by the explosion
Mary McWilliams of San Clemente tells the Orange County Register that she saw two women with burns stagger out of the building.
Fire officials say a third person suffered smoke inhalation.
Orange County sheriff’s experts along with FBI, the ATF and other federal agencies are investigating the cause of the blast.
Sheriff’s Cmdr. Dave Sawyer said Tuesday night that the size of the explosion makes it suspicious.
Neighbors of Krajnyak said that she and her husband were separated but still living in the same house. The neighbor says Krajnyak was her mother’s caretaker and describes the husband as a massage therapist and nice man.
Her adult son is at Washington State University.