Dr. Ali Salim was a respected member of his Ohio community. He saved lives. Or so people thought.
Salim also had a dark side. He frequently took to the internet, seeking out prostitutes and posting his own ads on Craigslist looking to exchange drugs for hookups. Investigators searched into Salim’s life after 23-year-old Deanna Ballman was reported missing following an alleged meet-up with the former physician. It only got darker and more tragic from there.
The case will be profiled on the latest episode of Killer Instinct With Chris Hansen on Discovery ID. The new episode is scheduled to premiere on Monday at 10 p.m. ET. Here’s what you need to know about Salim:
1. Deanna Ballman Died of a Heroin Overdose
This tragedy begins with Deanna Ballman, who was 23 years old and nine months pregnant when she returned home to central Ohio after separating from her husband in Colorado. According to assistant Delaware County prosecutor Kyle Rohrer, Ballman was having trouble making ends meet and, despite what her family believed, had turned to prostitution.
Ballman answered a Craigslist ad for $200, reportedly submitted by Ali Salim, a local doctor who regularly used the site to meet sexual partners. He also regularly mentioned exchanging drug for sex, including heroin. However, while many of Salim’s meetings were with young, drug-addicted prostitutes, several claimed they were drugged against their will; including Ballman who died of a heroin overdose with no evidence of past use.
2. Salim Was Accused of Killing Ballman
Salim was accused of murdering Ballman, although authorities were not sure whether the disgraced doctor administered the heroin himself or simply forced the 23-year-old to inject it herself.
Authorities said that Ballman was found dead in the back seat of her car on a road several miles from Salim’s home. Her unborn child, who she had planned to name Mabel, was also dead. The court filings dispute Salim’s versions of the night, which suggest that Ballman was alive when she left the house and that he drove her to a nearby grocery store before giving her directions back home.
Ballman’s death was not the first time that Salim had been involved in problems with the police. One woman reported that she had been accosted at Salim’s house, another said that she had been sexually assaulted while a third said the doctor insisted she pose in her underwear while he painted on her body.
3. Detectives Were able to Charge Salim After Retrieving Deleted Images From His Phone
After finding that Salim’s description of his night with Ballman differed from investigative findings, authorities were able to find deleted video and photo evidence from the doctor’s phone that proved their findings.
According to reports, investigators found video evidence that shows Ballman nude and unconscious on Salim’s bed, visibly suffering with symptoms consistent from a heroin overdose. The court filing read:
Without regard for mother or child, he dumped their bodies in a remote location as if he was taking out his trash. Some of the material further displays extreme and bizarre violence and cruelty.
Authorities also filed a second motion asking Delaware County judge Duncan Whitney investigators to destroy all evidence in the case once it was closed as the material was so obscene.
4. He Plead Guilty to Reduced Charges of Involuntary Manslaughter
Prosecutors eventually dropped charges that Salim kidnapped and durgged Ballman and feloniously assaulted her baby. However, Salim plead guilty to reduced charges of involuntary manslaughter as well as pleading guilty to tampering with evidence and abusing Ballman’s corpse.
Salim officially entered an Alford plea to the charges of rape, which allow him to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that he would be convicted if the case went to trial. Prior to going to trial, Salim was held on house arrest on $1 million bond.
5. Salim Was Sentenced to More Than 36 Years in Jail
After pleading guilty to rape and involuntary manslaughter chargers, Salim was sentenced to three consecutive 11 year sentences in December 2013. He was also sentenced to an additional 40 months on other chargers on what the judge called the “worst crime this court has ever seen.”
Salim apologized to the court and Ballman’s family, calling his actions unethical:
I know that no words that I can speak, ever, will ever take away the pain and suffering that the family of Ms. Ballman, Deanna, and Mabel will experience. But I do want them to know that I’m sorry.
In Mach 2014, the Ohio State Medical Board permanently revoked Salim’s license to practice medicine. According to reports, Salim did not cooperate with the Board’s investigation.