Authorities arrested 59-year-old Stephen Beal, the ex-boyfriend of Ildiko Krajnyak, who was killed May 15 due to an explosion at a day spa the two opened together in Aliso Viejo, California. Investigators declared the explosion as a criminal homicide May 16.
At the time of publishing, police had not named Beal as a suspect in Krajnyak’s death, however, he was charged for allegedly possessing an unregistered destructive device after multiple agencies raided his home, located in Long Beach, California.
In addition, Beal’s neighbors said “he was dejected over a recent breakup,” the Aliso Viejo Patch reports.
Beal, an actor, told detectives that he is a “bottle rocket hobbyist,” adding that he also used to make fireworks, but claimed he didn’t have enough material to cause the spa explosion.
In 2008, Beal’s previous wife died under “mysterious” circumstances, according to a coroner’s report, which said he was “uncooperative” with her doctors.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Ex-Girlfriend Was Killed in an Explosion at the Spa They Opened Together, & They Recently Broke Up
Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies responded to an explosion on May 15 at approximately 1:08 p.m., located at 11 Mareblu in Aliso, Viejo California.
Upon arrival, authorities “observed smoke and fire coming from the first floor of the Mareblu Building and broken window glass and debris in the parking lot,” according to an affidavit.
After the OCSD bomb squad entered the building, they discovered the body of Krajnyak, who died in the explosion.
Authorities also located two women, identified as “Victim 2” and “Victim 3” in the affidavit, who had been injured in the blast, but who are expected to survive after receiving treatment at a hospital for burns and lacerations. One of the victims told police that she noticed “lots of mail piled up with three to four brown cardboard boxes on the floor next to the counter,” before the explosion occurred.
The affidavit, which you can read in its entirety above, states, in part:
Victim 2 and Victim 3 stated that they had previously visited the Spa and received treatments from Krajnyak. All three women are ethnically Hungarian. Victim 2 and Victim 3 went to the Spa for spa treatments. The three women were the only people at the Spa that morning.
…As soon as Krajnyak opened the box, Victim 2 stated that the box exploded and recalled being blown backwards by the explosion onto the floor. She also saw flames and smoke. Victim 3, who did not observe Krajnyak open the package, stated that she was getting a glass of water when she felt and heard an explosion and was knocked to the ground. Victim 3 described seeing ‘everything on fire.’ Following the explosion, Victim 2 and Victim 3 exited the building and waited for help to arrive. Victim 2 did not see what happened to Krajnyak.
According to detectives, Beal said he met Krajnyak online and they began dating in June 2016. Soon after, the couple opened the spa.
Beal said the relationship ended in “February or March 2018,” citing “disputes over exclusivity of the relationship and financial issues,” according to police, adding that the two remained business partners after breaking up.
Beal’s neighbors told the Patch that the actor felt “dejected” following the breakup.
2. He Has Not Been Charged With Involvement in the Blast, & Police Say He Referred to Himself as a ‘Rocket Hobbyist’
Authorities have stressed that Beal has not been charged in connection with the explosion at this time.
“During the course of the investigation into the May 15 explosion in Aliso Viejo, investigators found a destructive device during the service of a search warrant at a Long Beach residence,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a statement Thursday morning, according to the Patch. “The resident, Stephen Beal, 59, of Long Beach, was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of an unregistered destructive device. Mr. Beal is not being charged in connection with the explosion.”
Beal told authorities that “he was a rocket hobbyist, but has not pursued the hobby since 2004.”
The actor also said he made fireworks from the late 1990’s until September 11, 2001, and said he stopped “because he did not want to give the wrong impression,” according to the affidavit.
Authorities said they discovered the following at Beal’s residence, which totaled approximately 130 pounds of explosives:
*A seven foot tall rocket
*Two containers of potassium perchlorate
*Two containers of red gum (used as a fuel and binder in fireworks)
*At least three containers of black powder
According to the affidavit, Beal told detectives “he saw media coverage of the explosion and claimed he did not have material to create an explosion that large.”
3. Beal’s Previous Wife Death Was Cited as a ‘Mysterious Case,’ & the Coroner Noted He Was ‘Not Cooperative’ With the Investigation
In an eerie twist, it has been uncovered that the 2008 death of Beal’s wife, Christine, was deemed a “mysterious case,” according to a coroner’s report obtained by Fox News Journalist Gigi Graciette.
“BREAKING: Coroner’s investigation into death of Stephen Beal’s wife Christine in 2008 noted he was ‘uncooperative’ with her doctors,” @GigiGraciette tweeted. “Coroner could not determine cause of her death, calling it a “MYSTERIOUS CASE” and noting she had high levels of lead in system.”
4. Photos of Krajnyak Are Still on Beal’s Social Media Account Despite Having a New Girfriend, & the Two Appeared to Lead a Lavish Lifestyle
Despite recently breaking up with Krajnyak and allegedly dating a new woman, Beal’s Facebook profile is strewn with photos of the the his ex-girlfriend.
The couple appeared to live lavishly, with Beal often posting photos of the two vacationing together in locations such as Cuba, Mexico and Portugal.
5. He Is an Actor, & His Mother Recently Passed Away
Beal is an actor known best for his roles in “Samuel Adams” (2014), “Dead Maker” (2016) and “Canvas the Night” (2013), according to IMDb.
His personal website’s biography section reads:
Stephen Beal is a Los Angeles based actor and native Southern Californian. His love of performing comes from a deep love of being seen. This obsession with ‘Look at me, look at me’ started at an early age and manifested itself as singing, dancing, acting, performing magic, acting as emcee, doing improv and any other activity that provided an opportunity to hear applause.
He believes strongly in training and studies consistently to hone the craft of acting. Stephen is in the Master’s Class at the Berg Studios in Atwater Village and has acted as co-producer of the studio’s showcases, all of which were very well received. He has also taken commercial workshops, voice over training, workshops on comedy and study of many dialects. Stephen works regularly with Sharpo productions live shows to exercise his ‘comedy muscles.’
A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else…Leap and the net will appear — John Burroughs
Stephen spent many years as an executive consultant, husband and father before returning to pursuing acting full time. During his stint as a consultant he still found ways to perform: corporate magic shows, speaking at conferences, sales presentations and host/emcee for corporate events. He has been a member of the Magic Castle for a couple decades.
Under “Other Interests,” the page speaks of Beals’ interest in “large-scale model rockets, one of which exceeded Mach 2 in less than one second after launch.”
On April 26, Beal posted to Facebook that his mother died at the age of 95. “Well now, mom has passed away and the memorial/celebration service for her is done,” he wrote. “She was 95 and live her life well. She poured herself into her family and cub scouts and other youth groups. Everyone that she touched has been enriched by her attention. Go play hopscotch again mom!”
Beal is expected to appear for a detention hearing in Santa Ana federal court on May 21, which was originally scheduled for May 17, according to authorities, who said “he will remain in custody until at least that time.”