The Columbus Dispatch
Family of pregnant victim sues doctor accused of raping, killing her; hospital, Craiglist also sued
By Laura Arenschield
July 31, 2013
The family of a pregnant woman whose body was found last summer in a car along a rural Delaware County road is suing the doctor charged in her death, the hospital where he worked and Craigslist, saying all were negligent and caused her and her unborn daughter to die.
They want $40 million for the emotional toll of 23-year-old Deanna Ballman’s death and the death of her unborn daughter, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
The doctor accused of killing her — Ali Salim, 44, of Columbus’ Northeast Side — was an emergency-department psychiatrist at Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon when Ballman’s body was found. She had been about to give birth to her third child, whom she planned to name Mabel, and had told her mother that she was answering a Craigslist ad to clean a house.
Police and Ballman’s family say Salim injected heroin into Ballman’s leg and then raped her. Her body was found in her car on Aug. 1, the day after she left for the housecleaning job.
Gregory Helser, the Granville lawyer representing Ballman’s family, said he would not comment on the lawsuit, other than to say that “no amount of money” would ever put Ballman’s family back together.
Ballman, who was nine months’ pregnant when she died, recently had returned to Ohio from Colorado, where she was enlisted in the Army National Guard. She had separated from her husband and was, by all accounts, trying to start a new life with her family in Licking County.
Salim, whose medical license has been suspended, is charged with murder in both Ballman’s death and the death of her unborn daughter. He also is accused of raping Ballman and assaulting her unborn daughter. He is awaiting his October trial at his home near New Albany and is being monitored by a GPS tracking device. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.