Spa owner Ildiko Krajnyak was opening a package that had piled up with mail during her recent trip to her native Hungary when it exploded Tuesday, killing her and injuring three others. News reports of the blast quickly reached Stephen Beal, her ex-boyfriend and a partner in the southern California business. At the urging of his new girlfriend, Beal phoned police and then let them search his house. They found more than 100 pounds of explosive material and charged him Thursday with possessing an unregistered destructive device, the AP reports. While not charged with the fatal explosion, the arrest puts Beal in custody as authorities investigate what they believe was a targeted bombing.
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. He said he had once made fireworks and mortars, but quit that after 9/11 because he "did not want to give the wrong impression." Beal, 59, did not enter a plea during his initial appearance in US District Court in Santa Ana. The criminal complaint was accompanied by an affidavit from an FBI special agent that briefly described the relationship between Beal and Krajnyak, as well as the grisly blast. The two had met online in June 2016 and dated about a year and a half. The romance cooled earlier this year after disputes over exclusivity and finances but they remained business partners, FBI Special Agent Evan Jesch wrote.