A Los Angeles-area woman who was brutally assaulted by a man she met through Instagram is sharing her story in hopes that it’ll be a cautionary tale to others.
Model India Ali, 32, confessed that she first met James Baker, 27, virtually through the popular social media photo app and eventually felt comfortable enough with what she saw to set up a date with him in real life.
‘He didn’t really look like a creep from his pictures. He looked like he had it going on,’ Ali said.
Last July, Ali and Baker met up for their date. They went out drinking, as evidenced by several videos that Baker had posted of two of them at a restaurant.
In the clips, Ali appears to be less than sober, compared to Baker.
Although Baker posted videos showing that it happened, Ali said she had no memory of leaving the restaurant or going back to his room at the Westin Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport.
The next morning, Ali woke up in the hotel room, alone.
‘It was horrible,’ Ali said. ‘I woke up. I lifted my head up. I was lying in a puddle of throw up. So I look around and I see blood everywhere and my clothes everywhere.’
When she looked at herself in the mirror, she saw that her face had been brutally beaten.
‘Oh my God. I can’t believe that happened. What if they come back and kill me?’ Ali recalled thinking.
Baker had apparently taken her cellphone and car keys with him when he left the room, so Ali called 911 on the hotel phone.
In the 911 recording, Ali can be heard telling the operator that, ‘There’s blood all over the room’ and that she was ‘hurt in my face.’
Ali was treated for head injuries at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
‘She had been punched in the head so badly that it had caused a swelling in the brain,’ Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Berger told KTLA.
‘The brain, when it expands, has nowhere to go so it forces down and that’s what triggers the vomit action. It pressures the fourth vertebrae.’
Investigators tracked Baker by using the Find my iPhone app installed on Ali’s cellphone.
Police also found Ali’s car at the Courtyard hotel — surveillance video from the Westin showed that after Baker left Ali, he’d driven her car away from the Westin at about 2am.
After his arrest, Berger said investigators discovered that Baker had out of state convictions and was out on bail for charges related to alleged use of fake credit cards.
Last month, on April 14, Baker was found guilty of felony assault, auto theft and use of forged credit cards.
He is currently being held at the downtown LA Men’s Central Jail, awaiting a sentencing hearing scheduled for June 5.
Ali is sharing her story because she wants people to avoid making the same mistake she did when it comes to meeting people online.
‘I wouldn’t want anybody to go and meet up with anybody that they don’t know. Please don’t ever do that,’ Ali said. ‘You have to value your life.’