73°F
weather icon Drizzle

FBI in California believe fatal explosion was caused by device

Updated May 16, 2018 - 1:41 pm

LOS ANGELES — 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.

Woman may have been target

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.

Covered in ash and soot

Mary McWilliams told the Orange County Register that she arrived for an appointment to find smoke in the area and car alarms going off.

She said she saw two burned women staggering out of the building, covered in ash and soot.

One woman, who had skin peeling on her arm from burns, said, “Take care of my mother,” McWilliams said. The other woman was bleeding from her head.

Fire officials said a third person suffered smoke inhalation.

A daycare center and preschool across the street was evacuated. Some children held hands as they were led out by firefighters while sheriff’s deputies rolled out babies in cribs.

“When I was playing outside I heard the big crash, I thought it was a garbage truck but it was a building that smashed,” 6-year-old Kingston Dik told KNBC-TV.

No children were hurt.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Mexico plans to auction off seized luxury goods to help poor

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador hasn’t just moved out of the luxurious president’s residence, he’s using it to auction off seized luxury goods to raise money for poor communities.

UN envoy warns Libya on verge of descending to civil war

Civil war in Libya in 2011 toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and the chaos that followed resulted in a divided country.