TikTok Star Murders: The True Story of Ali and Ana Abulaban

Spoilers

TikTok Star Murders premieres on Peacock on June 25, 2024, and it’s telling a wild story about the dangers of social media.

The true crime documentary details the sad story of the Abuladan family, Ali, Ana, and their young daughter.

Their seemingly idyllic life and Ali’s status as a rising TikTok star were cut short in October 2021 when Ana and a friend were killed, and Ali was accused of the crime.

Who Were Ana and Ali Abulaban?

Ali and Ana Abulaban were married and in their late 20s when the crime being covered on Peacock took place.

The couple lived and worked in San Diego, California, creating TikTok and other social media content together at the time.

Related: How True Crime Story: It Couldn’t Happen Here Appeals to Armchair Detectives

Their five-year-old daughter lived with them, making them a seemingly tight but small family unit.

The pair were married for approximately seven years before the tragedy, but it is now apparent that their marriage was more like a mirage.

Multiple problems lurked just below the surface, including physical and verbal abuse.

Ali Does Impressions - TikTok Star Murders

Ali did not grow up in California.

Born on Staten Island in New York, Ali grew up in Virginia.

Ali was a singer for several years before eventually joining the military and getting stationed in Okinawa, Japan, for a time.

He struggled in his early years, as his mother, Warra Dalal, testified in court at his trial.

His father was verbally and physically abusive to his mother in front of the kids.

Later, Ali and his father also got into altercations, which may at least partially explain why Ali himself displayed similar traits in adulthood.

Get Out - TikTok Star Murders

Not much is publicly known about Ana Abulaban.

What is known is that she worked at a bar called Chaos in Japan during the couple’s early relationship.

One night, like these characters who like to drink, Ali was enjoying time at the bar when, according to him, a mistake regarding his treatment of Ana led to his involvement in a bar fight that got him discharged from military service.

Related: 17 Women of TV Who Would Win a Bar Fight

As for how the couple initially met, according to Fox 5 KUSI San Diego, Ali’s military position required him to work as a gate guard at a gate Ana passed through one day, and her ID was expired.

He issued her a ticket and wrote his phone number on it.

Things should have ended there because Ana was already married to a man called Shawn Torres, but Ali and Ana started a romance.

Ali Impersonates People - TikTok Star Murders

The Rise of JinnKid

After his army discharge and a move back to the United States, Ali eventually decided to try his hand at a social media career.

He had natural comedic timing and could do some impressions, so he figured he would post videos online and see what happened.

Ali went by JinnKid on several social media platforms, including TikTok, where his posts seemed to gain rapid momentum starting in 2019.

Some featured Ali doing impressions of Tony Montana from the film Scarface (1983).

Montana was famously portrayed initially by Al Pacino, who more recently starred on Hunters (2020-2023).

Andrea Marks Says Ali Was Obsessed With Fame - TikTok Star Murders

By the time of the murder in October 2021, Ali had nearly one million followers on TikTok, largely thanks to the Scarface impressions and a series of videos based on the video game Skyrim.

For a time, it seemed Ali and Ana were a close couple and a powerful team.

Ana often appeared in Ali’s TikTok videos, assisting with his comedic skits.

Related: What Losers in Love Could Learn from These Successful TV Couples

As Ali rose to fame, Ana and their young daughter seemed to be along for the ride and relatively carefree, at least on the surface level.

Yet, with fame came a shift in the couple’s relationship and Ali’s general attitude.

As his fame increased, so did his desire for more fame, power, and control of all aspects of his life, including Ana.

An Unhealthy Marriage - TikTok Star Murders

Domestic Abuse and the Downfall of Ali and Ana Abulaban’s Relationship

Ali and Ana Abulaban had a lifestyle that included drug use and alcohol consumption.

Particularly after their marriage, those habits seemed to make Ali act similarly to these mentally unstable TV characters, with an ever-increasing level of instability.

Ali claimed he got an ADHD diagnosis when he was younger.

Also, he did enroll in a form of therapy in Virginia called neurofeedback therapy before committing the killings.

Often, that type of therapy is used to treat disorders that include ADHD, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Ali Abulaban Looking Casual - TikTok Star Murders

It is unclear exactly when the abuse started, but Ali himself admitted it escalated quite a bit after the couple married.

He admitted to several assaults on Ana, including various incidents involving pushing or punching her.

Ali stated that one particular incident of punching her stemmed from jealousy over thinking she was text messaging someone else and cheating on him.

Related: Yoga Teacher Killer: The True Story of Kaitlin Armstrong

As his alcohol and drug use escalated, so did his jealousy.

He even took to recording himself berating and threatening Ana and posting the videos online.

In one social media livestream, he loomed over her and scolded her, telling his followers not to get married because he threw his life away for her.

Ana Abulaban Mugging for the Camera - TikTok Star Murders

Meanwhile, Ana herself had a shining inner light and tried to put her best face forward.

But, in true crime fashion, that face was often battered and bruised.

She wanted a better life for herself and their child, so she sought to escape the situation.

According to the Los Angeles Times and many other news outlets, she filed a police report accusing Ali of abusing her only a month before she was murdered.

There was also evidence that Ana was in the process of trying to get a protection order barring Ali from coming near her in the days before the murder occurred.

Cassie Conroy - TikTok Star Murders

Ana Abulaban’s Last Days and Murder

Ana had a friend named Rayburn Barron, who she spent quite a bit of time within the days leading up to the murder.

Ali was convinced the two were having an affair and determined to catch them in the act.

Related: Murder in a Small Town Season 1: Everything We Know So Far

He decided the best way to do that was to use their daughter’s iPad to spy on her mother.

The listening device he installed on the iPad recorded conversations between Rayburn and Ana, which convinced Ali that he was correct.

After the murders, in court, text messages between Barron and Ana were read, and they indicated the two might have been romantically involved, as Ali thought.

Rayburn Barron Smiling - TikTok Star Murders

Regardless of the validity or lack thereof of Ali’s affair suspicions, his jealousy boiled over on October 21, 2021.

On that day, Ali went to the apartment complex where Ana and Rayburn were, rode the elevator up, and used a duplicate key he had to let himself inside.

Ana and Rayburn, unaware of the impending danger, were relaxing on the couch at the time.

The door burst open, and Ali immediately began shooting the pair, hitting Rayburn three times and shooting Ana in the head.

There are senseless elements to every true crime story, but this one was particularly cold-blooded.

After killing the couple, he calmly drove to the school and picked his daughter up.

Unraveling - TikTok Star Murders

The Capture and Trial of Ali Abulaban

Between the time when he committed the killings and a short time later, when he picked up his daughter at school, Ali made some critical mistakes.

First, he stuck around for a bit at the murder scene, taking pictures of his victims.

Related: Under the Bridge: The True Story Behind the Murder of Reena Virk

Second, he sent those images to a friend and his parents.

Third, he called his mother on the phone and confessed to the murders.

By the time he left the apartment to head to the school, many people knew about his crime, so it was easy for police to identify him as the killer.

Louis and Ali - TikTok Star Murders

There was nothing Ali could do to feign innocence once he was caught.

The evidence, most of his deliberate making, like the pictures of the bodies he took, was stacked against him.

His murder trial began on May 1, 2024, and it played out like an episode of Law & Order.

The jury heard many people testify and reviewed the evidence thoroughly before reaching a guilty verdict after approximately a day and a half of deliberation on May 24.

His sentencing is currently scheduled for June 28 and may result in him receiving a life sentence.

Rachel Marie Britt - TikTok Star Murders

Ali’s arrest and trial prompted many people to more thoroughly investigate the impact of fame, particularly sudden fame, on mental health.

According to Peacock, the TikTok Star Murders documentary will feature first-time interviews with the couple’s friends and family members.

It will also include commentary reporter Kelsey Christensen, who interviewed Ali before his arrest.

Related: 11 TV Geniuses Who Resorted to Crime

The documentary will also delve into the psychology behind Ali’s actions, with insights from a clinical and forensic psychologist.

What do you think about the rise and fall of JinnKid?

Comment below and tell us if you think his actions were motivated more by his troubled childhood, TikTok fame, or other factors.

TikTok Star Murders premieres on Peacock on June 25, 2024.

Jessica Kosinski is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

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