Ohio doctor charged with murder of pregnant woman

NEW ALBANY, Ohio - A central Ohio doctor was charged Wednesday with rape and two counts of murder in the death of a pregnant woman, whose body was found last summer in her car after she had headed to a house-cleaning job listed in an online ad.
  
Ali Salim of New Albany was indicted by a Delaware County grand jury on nine felony counts in the deaths of 23-year-old Deanna Ballman of Pataskala and her unborn child.

Ballman, who was nine-months pregnant, was reported missing the day before her body was found Aug. 1 in a vehicle parked near a road northeast of Columbus. A coroner determined she died of acute heroin intoxication.

Relatives said she had gone to a New Albany house-cleaning job listed in an online classified ad. Her mother said Ballman called saying she wasn't feeling well, and then the call was dropped.

Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien wouldn't comment Wednesday on where Ballman was killed.

"Her body was found in the vehicle in southeast Delaware County," O'Brien said. "That's where the body was, and it got there somehow." O'Brien said she planned to ask for a high bond for Salim at his initial appearance Thursday.

Salim, 44, was also indicted on two counts of tampering with evidence, as well as single counts of assault, kidnapping, corrupting another with drugs and abuse of a corpse.

He was arrested at home without incident and taken to jail Wednesday to await his arraignment Thursday afternoon, the sheriff and prosecutor said.

Salim will plead not guilty, his attorney, Sam Shamansky, said.

Licensure information from the state indicates Salim was born in Pakistan and trained there at King Edward Medical College, graduating in 1993. He told the State Medical Board of Ohio that his specialties were internal medicine, emergency medicine and psychiatry. The prosecutor said Salim was a permanent U.S. resident.

"He's not a flight risk, nor a danger to the community," Shamansky said of his client.

Delaware County Sheriff Russ Martin said the charges were the result of diligent investigation.

"We hope today is the beginning of some form of closure for this family and their loved ones," Martin said.
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Associated Press writer Kantele Franko contributed to this report.

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Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus .

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