Editor’s note: On Tuesday, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles confirmed that federal prosecutors had withdrawn their complaint against Stephen Beal.
“Further examination by the Federal Bureau of Investigation raises questions as to whether the devices meet the statutory definition for a ‘destructive device,’ ” prosecutors said in a copy of the dismissal motion obtained by PEOPLE. Their request was brought before a judge on Saturday, approved and Beal was then released on Sunday, the spokesman says.
Below is the original PEOPLE article on Beal’s arrest, published on May 17.
The ex-boyfriend and business partner of a woman killed in an explosion at a day spa in California earlier this week has been taken into custody, PEOPLE confirms.
Stephen Beal, 59, was initially arrested on suspicion of being in possession of an unregistered destructive device, according to a joint statement released by the FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office, Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
He was officially charged Thursday afternoon, prosecutors said.
The explosives were allegedly discovered by the FBI during a search of Beal’s Long Beach home, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun tells PEOPLE.
According to Beal’s federal criminal complaint, obtained by PEOPLE, investigators found about 130 lbs. of explosives and related materials in his residence, mostly in his garage, and he allegedly explained that he was a lapsed “model rocket hobbyist.”
Among the recovered items, authorities claim in the complaint, were two cardboard tubes described as similar to improvised explosives, with 30-inch fuses.
Asked about these, Beal allegedly said that he “had not made any bombs,” authorities stated in the complaint.
So far, Beal has not been charged in connection with the Aliso Viejo explosion that killed 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak and injured three others.
According to Beal’s criminal complain, he and Krajnyak co-owned the spa that was bombed and the two previously dated.
Beal remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana on Monday. He has not yet entered a plea or retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
“Our investigators are still determining if we can connect any of the items that were located at the house to the explosion,” says Braun, adding, “They are still processing the scene and evidence.”
Fragments of the device were shipped to the FBI’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, she says. “They are working as quick as they can to see if there is any connection,” she says.
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Braun says the Tuesday explosion destroyed a corner of a two-story medical building in Aliso Viejo, about 50 miles south of Los Angeles, that housed Krajnyak’s skin care spa, Magyar Kozmetika.
The Hungarian aesthetician was found dead inside the building, Braun says. Two other women suffered injuries and were taken to the hospital for treatment and are expected to survive.
A third woman was treated for smoke inhalation and was released at the scene, Braun says.
Braun says investigators are working hard to “get to the bottom of who committed the crime.”
“We know the public is vey concerned,” she says.
On Wednesday, according to Braun, authorities said the explosion was being investigated as a crime after they located a “device” in the building.
“Based upon witness statements and people who were there, we don’t believe it was an accident,” she says.
“It wasn’t a gas leak, it wasn’t an exploding oxygen tank,” she adds. “It was not an accident.”