California building explosion investigated as intentional

Author: Michael Balsamo, AP
Published: Updated:
This image taken from video shows a building after a fatal explosion in Aliso Viejo, Calif., Tuesday, May 15, 2018. The cause of the blast is being investigated. (Raul Hernandez via AP)

An explosion that rocked a Southern California medical building, killing the owner of a day spa and seriously injuring two patrons, is being investigated as a crime after federal officials found remnants of an explosive device inside the spa, officials said Wednesday.

The explosion occurred Tuesday in Aliso Viejo, about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) south of Los Angeles. It blew siding off the walls, exposing insulation and framing and shattering windows at the two-story building.

“At this point, we do not believe this was an accident,” said Paul Delacourt, special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles. “Our working theory is that this explosion was caused by a device.”

Pieces of the device found at the scene were being sent to the FBI’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, to be analyzed, he said.

Delacourt said investigators were still working to determine a motive and figure out exactly how the device was brought to the spa. He would not say whether the woman killed had been specifically targeted.

Two officials told The Associated Press that investigators believe the blast was caused by an explosive package that was specifically targeting the office where the explosion occurred. One of the officials said one of the victims was believed to be the target.

The officials were briefed on the investigation but not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes says the formal identification of the body was continuing but authorities believe it is that of Ildiko Krajnyak, a licensed cosmetologist.

The two patrons who were injured were undergoing surgery Wednesday and expected to survive. A third victim was treated for smoke inhalation.

Sheriff’s investigators and federal agents were executing three search warrants on Wednesday, but no arrests have been made in the case, Delacourt said.

Bomb technicians and investigators from the sheriff’s department, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were sifting through debris left at the blast site.

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