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Package Bomb Explodes At California Day Spa, Killing Beloved Esthetician in Shocking New Dateline

“Getting away with murder is much harder than most people think," Dateline correspondent Josh Mankiewicz said of the shocking targeted murder.

By Jill Sederstrom
Ildiko Krajnyak featured on Dateline: Death At The Spa

A day at the spa took a tragic turn when a bomb exploded, killing a beloved 48-year-old esthetician and injuring two others. 

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The shocking crime is the focus of an explosive all-new two-hour Dateline NBC, airing Friday, February 9. 

“Getting away with murder is much harder than most people think,” Dateline correspondent Josh Mankiewicz told NBC Insider of the deadly case.

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What happened to Ildiko Krajnyak?

As the official synopsis for Friday's Dateline episode explains: “When a package bomb explodes at a day spa in Southern California, killing beloved esthetician Ildiko Krajnyak and injuring two clients, law enforcement discovers that the bomb was intended specifically for her. Who would want Ildiko dead? An investigation into her love life reveals several possibilities.”

The idyllic palm trees that surrounded the serene day spa in Aliso Viejo, California served as a stark contrast to the “massive debris field” and “huge crime scene” that quickly enveloped the area after the bombing, according to a preview clip of Friday’s episode.

As Mankiewicz dove into the complicated case, he spoke with a customer who had been in the spa that morning getting her lashes done just before the bomb went off and had some insight into Krajnyak’s romantic past. 

Esthetician Ildiko Krajnyak had "complicated relationships"

"It didn't seem out of the ordinary ... until a bomb goes off and everything seems weird," the customer shared. The client added, "I knew that she had complicated relationships. I don’t know what she was mixed up in.”

The Dateline correspondent explains in the preview that authorities believe that Krajnyak was the intended target, but they needed to find out why and who was behind it.

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Mankiewicz told NBC Insider that the most surprising moment for him while covering the case came from Valerie Stone, the ex-fiancée of the person ultimately found guilty of federal charges for bombing the spa.

Valerie Stone featured on Dateline: Death At The Spa

How the investigation plays out is great, but the best part of this story is the one told by Valerie,” he said. 

In addition to Stone, Mankiewicz sits down with FBI agents Nick Vicencia and Ashley Mericle, Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigator Jack Ackerman, prosecutors Annamartine Salick and Mark Takla, and others to piece together the complex tale.

One challenge? It wasn’t exactly easy to get information.

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“This case was investigated by the FBI and tried in federal court by the DOJ (Department of Justice). That means no courtroom photos or video and let’s just say FBI agents and federal prosecutors choose their words carefully,” Mankiewicz explained to NBC Insider.

To find out more about Krajnyak’s murder and just who was behind the shocking bombing, tune in to “Death at the Spa” on Dateline Friday, February 9 at 9/8c on NBC, or stream it the next day on Peacock

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