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Ex-boyfriend arrested again in connection with deadly Aliso Viejo explosion

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — Authorities on Sunday once again arrested Stephen Beal, a Long Beach man who was previously arrested and charged in connection to a deadly explosion at an Aliso Viejo day spa last year, KTLA reports.

The original charges against Beal were later dropped.

Beal was arrested Sunday morning in connection with the blast, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said, adding that a federal search is being conducted at his Long Beach home.

Ildiko Krajnyak and Stephen Beal are shown in a photo from his Facebook page on June 11, 2017.

Ildiko Krajnyak and Stephen Beal are shown in a photo from his Facebook page on June 11, 2017.

The May 15, 2018 explosion killed Beal’s former girlfriend and business partner, Ildiko Krajnyak.

Krajnyak, 48, a mother and licensed cosmetologist, had just returned to California after visiting family in her native Hungary when she was killed.

Beal was arrested later that month and charged with a count of possessing an unregistered destructive device after a search of his Long Beach home uncovered what authorities believed were component parts of an improvised explosive device, along with two handguns, a shotgun, chemical precursors and component parts of IEDs, according to court records.

The charges would later be dropped after a further investigation by the FBI raised doubt as to whether the device met the criteria of a “destructive device,” and Beal walked free.

Beal told the FBI he was a model rocket hobbyist but has not touched the rocket-making equipment and chemicals found in his home since 2004, according to court documents. He also told agents he had seen reports about the explosion, but did not possess the materials to create a blast that large.

A building in Aliso Viejo is seen after a fatal explosion on May 15, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

A building in Aliso Viejo is seen after a fatal explosion on May 15, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

Officers who responded to the scene found human remains outside a broken window and at an adjacent parking lot, according to the complaint. Authorities later determined that the remains to be that of Krajnyak, court documents said.

The blast also injured two female customers, a mother and daughter. They were about to pay when one of them noticed three or four brown cardboard boxes on the floor next to the front counter.

Krajnyak picked up and opened one of the boxes, which exploded, the customer told investigators at the time.

Beal was a co-owner of the day spa, a business partnership that was forged shortly after he and Krajnyak met online and began dating in June 2016. The romantic relationship ended in February or March, but remained business partners.

Beal continued to pay the spa’s monthly rent and half of its operating costs, sometimes loaning Krajnyak money to covert part of her half of the expenses, investigators said last year.

The FBI said more information will be given at a news conference in Orange County on Monday.

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