Prosecutors Drop Charges Linked To Deadly Aliso Viejo Explosion
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Prosecutors moved to drop charges Tuesday against a Southern California man arrested on suspicion of having explosives after a blast killed his former girlfriend at her day spa.
Court papers filed in U.S. District Court said material found during a search of Stephen Beal's house in Long Beach may not meet the criteria to be considered a "destructive device."
Beal was arrested during the investigation of the bombing that killed Ildiko Krajnyak on May 15 in her Orange County spa, but he was never named as a suspect in the blast.
Beal, a model rocket hobbyist, told investigators he had not made any bombs and did not have material for an explosion as powerful as the one he saw in news coverage.
Beal, 59, was charged with a single count of possessing an unregistered destructive device. Prosecutors asked the court to drop the charge.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Santa Ana on May 16, the deadly explosion happened after Krajnyak opened a brown cardboard package that had been on the floor near the front counter of the spa.
"As soon as Krajnyak opened the box, (a witness) stated that the box exploded and recalled being blown backwards by the explosion onto the floor," the affidavit reads in part. "She also saw flames and smoke."
Beal and Krajnyak had recently split up over issues of exclusivity and finances, he told investigators, according to an affidavit filed in court by an FBI agent. But they remained business partners.
Krajnyak, 48, was killed and two female clients were seriously injured when she opened a box that erupted in a fiery explosion at the spa in the city of Aliso Viejo, about 50 miles (81 kilometers) south of Los Angeles, investigators said.
"We are all very worried because we still don't know who did this, and it's all really, really frustrating for our family, and everybody is devastated, and we try to move on," Krajnyak's niece told CBS2 Tuesday. "It's been really hard."
The Orange County Sheriff's Dept. released a statement reading, "OCSD has not named a suspect in the homicide, and will not until we have enough evidence to be confident that the person or persons who committed this heinous act will be held responsible for their actions."
The family said it has no idea why somebody would do this to Krajnyak.
"We can't even imagine what [...] for what reason someone would do such [a] thing," said her niece.
Krajnyak, a mother and a licensed cosmetologist, had just returned to California after visiting family in her native Hungary.
Investigators said they found two improvised explosive devices, three firearms and more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of explosive material in Beal's house.
Beal's son speculated at the time of the arrest that investigators had discovered rocket-making materials.
Materials found in Beal's home, as well as some found at the scene of the explosion, are being analyzed at an FBI lab in Virginia.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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