Authorities arrest boyfriend and business partner of woman killed in day spa blast

 latimes.com  5/17/2018 3:01:57 PM   Richard Winton, Brittny Mejia, Javier Panzar
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Authorities have arrested the boyfriend and business associate of a woman who was killed in an explosion that ripped through her Aliso Viejo day spa earlier this week.

Stephen Beal, 59, of Long Beach, was arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered destructive device, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Thursday.

Investigators found the device while serving a search warrant at a Long Beach residence, Eimiller said. Beal is not being charged in connection with Tuesday's explosion, which shook the two-story building so vigorously that people nearby thought it was an earthquake.

The spa owner, Ildiko Krajnyak, 48, was killed in the blast, authorities said. Two customers suffered injuries that required surgery, and one other person was treated for smoke inhalation.

In addition to the couple's business partnership, a law enforcement source said Beal was the woman's boyfriend.

In paperwork filed with the California secretary of State last month, Beal listed Krajnyak as the chief executive officer of a skin care and retail company he established last year. That company, I and S Enterprises Inc., is based in the same building where the explosion occurred. Beal listed himself as the corporation's secretary and chief financial officer.

In addition to the Long Beach residence, law enforcement officials searched three other locations Wednesday, including the damaged business and Krajnyak's home in Trabuco Canyon.

Authorities are examining the victim's romantic, personal and financial relationships, according to sources familiar with the investigation who were not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Krajnyak lived in Trabuco Canyon and worked for three decades as an aesthetician, according to public records and her LinkedIn account.

"She worked so, so hard, always trying to make money to support her family and send her son to private school," said a neighbor who identified herself only as Tiffany. "She would go on trips, come back home and 45 minutes later, walk back out, heading to work."

Beal is expected to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana on Thursday afternoon.

Beal's Facebook account features multiple photos of him with Krajnyak on international trips to Cuba, Canada and Portugal. The photos apparently were taken between June 2017 and last month.

On his personal website, Beal said he worked as an executive consultant before turning to acting and performing late in life.

"His love of performing comes from a deep love of being seen," his website biography reads.

His profile on the Internet Movie Database lists 15 credited roles, mostly in short films and television programs.

Beal also wrote on his website that he builds and flies "large-scale" rockets as a hobby. One of his rockets "exceeded Mach 2 in less than one second after launch," he wrote.

Neighbor Steven Young, 63, said he sometimes saw Beal in his garage, working on rockets. Beal would go to the desert near Edwards Air Force Base to launch them with his kids.

Beal's wife, Christine, died in 2008, according to the Los Angeles County coroner. Young said she fell down a curved staircase while moving furniture in the family's home. The coroner lists the manner of death as "undetermined."

"He's a good neighbor," Young said. "It's hard to fathom that he would be involved in something like this."

1:25 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from neighbor Steven Young.

10:55 a.m.: This article was updated with more information about spa owner Ildiko Krajnyak.

9 a.m.: This article was updated with details from Stephen Beal's website and Facebook account.

10:55 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from a neighbor of spa owner Ildiko Krajnyak.

7:55 a.m.: This article was updated with details on the relationship between Stephen Beal and spa owner Ildiko Krajnyak.

7:30 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about Stephen Beal.

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