Ohio doctor charged in pregnant woman's death

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm •  Published: May 25, 2013
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NEW ALBANY, Ohio (AP) — The personal ads that Dr. Ali Salim placed on Craigslist — and police say he posted hundreds of them — made one thing clear: He wanted "no drama."

He didn't always get his wish.

One woman told police she was accosted at Salim's house. Another said she was sexually assaulted. Another woman left after she said Salim insisted she pose in her underwear while he painted the digestive system on her abdomen.

The final drama, police and prosecutors say, occurred July 31 when Deanna Ballman, nine months pregnant with two young children at home, disappeared after answering one of Salim's ads. Ballman's body was found the next day in the backseat of her car on a country road a few miles from Salim's house.

After a six-month investigation, Salim was arrested in February and charged with kidnapping, raping and killing Ballman by injecting her with heroin, as well as killing her unborn child, to be named Mabel Lilly.

Salim has pleaded not guilty and is on house arrest on $1 million bond. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 3.

Ballman told her mother she was responding to a housecleaning ad. Investigators say that's not the whole story.

"That's not quite what we've found," said Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien.

Salim, 44, who is single, is originally from Pakistan where he earned his medical degree at King Edward Medical College at the University of the Punjab in 1993, according to Ohio medical board records. He did his residency at West Virginia University and worked most recently as an emergency room physician in Mt. Vernon, a small city in east-central Ohio.

The Ohio medical board has revoked Salim's license because of the criminal charges. He had no medical disciplinary cases as a doctor and no previous criminal record. He is a permanent U.S. resident with a green card.

Salim did well: He lived in a $305,000 house in New Albany, a tony Columbus suburb, and owned expensive cars, including a Porsche and Infiniti. He drove his vehicles fast: Records obtained by The Associated Press found at least 15 speeding tickets since 2000.

Salim's life was full of drama in the months before his encounter with Ballman, according to police records obtained by the AP, prosecutors' statements and interviews with Delaware County sheriff's investigators.

In September 2010, Salim told police his house had been burglarized with the help of a female heroin addict he'd been trying to help get treatment. He refused to cooperate with investigators despite losing three TVs, two laptops, $500 in cash and credit cards, and the case was placed on inactive status, according to a Columbus police report.

In April 2011, a woman who answered one of Salim's Craigslist ads called 911 to report an assault at Salim's address. "I came to a gentleman's house, and he accosted me," she said.

Eight months later, in early December, aspiring model Gabrielle Roush answered what she thought was a legitimate modeling ad: $400 to let Salim paint the human digestive system on her abdomen for what he said was a work assignment.

But Roush, accompanied by her future father-in-law, turned down the job after Salim insisted she be in the house alone while he worked.

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