‘We do not believe this was an accident’: Deadly explosion in Aliso Viejo linked to suspicious device
An explosion that ripped through an Aliso Viejo day spa on Tuesday, killing the business owner and injuring two customers, does not appear to have been the result of an accident, authorities said
An explosion that ripped through an Aliso Viejo day spa Tuesday, killing the business owner and injuring two customers, does not appear to have been the result of an accident, authorities said.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, an FBI official said the explosion appears to have been caused by a device that was “not consistent” with the beauty business, Magyar Kozmetika.
For the record:
1:05 p.m. May 16, 2018An earlier version of this article reported that three people were killed in the explosion. One person was killed and two injured.
The 1:10 p.m. blast rattled the suburban Orange County community and sparked a massive response from law enforcement. The explosion is being treated as a homicide, and evidence from the scene has been sent to the FBI’s lab in Quantico, Va.
It wasn’t clear how the device came to be in the business, said Paul Delacourt, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the federal law enforcement branch of the U.S. Postal Service, said the package delivered to the spa did not go through the Postal Service mail system.
“We do not believe this was an accident,” Delacourt told reporters. “This explosion was caused by a device…. The damage at the scene was extensive.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation, with assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI, officials said.
On Wednesday, authorities identified the woman who was killed as Ildiko Krajnyak. The 48-year-old worked for three decades as an aesthetician, according to public records and her LinkedIn account.
Tuesday night, Orange County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Dave Sawyer said that it was too early to determine whether the explosion was a bombing, and that investigators were interviewing those who were injured and had been taken to hospitals.
Law enforcement officials executed searches at four locations Wednesday, including the damaged business, Krajnyak’s home and a Long Beach residence that belonged to one of her business associates.
Delacourt said there was no indication of other threats or of secondary devices in the community.
For much of the day Wednesday, TV news vans lined the curb of Drover Court in Trabuco Canyon, the neighborhood where the vicitm lived with her family.
“The family is in shock — total shock — and they’re trying to contact other family in Hungary,” said Tiffany, a neighbor who declined to give her last name. The victim had lived in the neighborhood for at least 12 years, along with her mother, her husband and her son, who is curerntly attending college.
“This poor family, no one is prepared for anything like this,” the neighbor said.
The explosion shook the two-story building so forcefully that employees at neighboring businesses thought it was an earthquake. Some stepped outside, anticipating more shaking.
Andrew Dyjak, the owner of a massage business inside the building at 11 Mareblu, said he realized it wasn’t an earthquake when he got outside and saw the devastation.
“There was one part of the building that was destroyed, like really destroyed,” he said. “No windows, glass, and we noticed a small fire.”
Glass was everywhere, and part of the building’s walls were damaged, Dyjak said.
“For sure, we are closing for the day,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is planning on going back. And they probably have to check the structure.”
Besides Dyjak’s business, the building housed at least one chiropractic office and a medical practice, he said.
Laguna Niguel retiree Judith Hoel was sitting in a dental chair inside the Ocean Valley Dental Center across the street from the building about to get her teeth cleaned when she heard a “huge boom” and the clinic shook.
“It’s terrible to say, but I hoped it was an accident and not something that would be worse,” she said. “It’s a frightening world today.”
More than 30 bystanders stood across the street from the building Tuesday afternoon, snapping selfies and posting updates on social media. Several dozen employees of the medical complex sat in grassy areas facing the office.
Rows of emergency vehicles blocked the streets as a helicopter hovered overhead.
Augustine Tolar had been driving to lunch along Moulton Parkway, passing Oso Parkway, when the explosion caused him to stop.
“I knew right away there would be a fatality. No way in hell could someone survive that big of a hit,” said the customer service clerk from Laguna Niguel.
3:50 p.m.: This article was updated with details on locations that were searched.
3:25 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from neighbors.
2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from the USPS.
12:25 p.m.: This article was updated with officials stating that the explosion was not believed to have been an accident.
Noon: This article was updated with comments from a Sheriff’s Department news briefing.
10:45 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from the ATF.
This article was originally published at 6:45 a.m.
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