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Crime News Crimes of Passion

TikTok Star Murders Reporter Details Chilling Sit-Down with Killer: “This Person Has Some Demons”

Kelsey Christensen says the new Peacock documentary shows the "many warning signs" of believing everything you see on social media. 

By Jax Miller

Emmy Award-winning journalist Kelsey Christensen left no stone unturned during a jailhouse interview with a man she believed murdered two people, as seen in a chilling true crime documentary exclusively on Peacock.

TikTok Star Murders, streaming now, tells of the perils behind believing everything you see on social media. As detailed in the official release, the feature-length documentary covers the wild case of popular TikTok creator Ali Abulaban and his wife, Ana, and a 2021 crime whirling with intimate partner violence under the façade of a picture-perfect marriage.

“Narcissism, addiction, and crippling jealousy all play a role in Ali’s desire for control and fame, while Ana seeks independence and a happy life for her and her daughter,” according to the official release. “The relationship disintegrates, and in October of 2021, the abuse takes a deadly turn that leaves two people dead, and another facing a lifetime behind bars.”

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Just weeks after the double homicide, Christensen — now a reporter for ABC Twin Cities affiliate KSTP-TV — got the scoop from the accused killer himself when reporting for Fox 5 in San Diego.

What is TikTok Star Murders?

With Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Executive Producer, TikTok Star Murders is a 90-minute documentary covering Abulaban’s crimes, which were “basically caught on camera,” according to Christensen.

“This is a big case, and it’s a case of passion,” she told Oxygen.com. “Unfortunately, we see domestic violence cases much more than we should, but this whole case is pretty much on video or audio recording.”

Christensen added that it was “wild” to see the story play out, as it warned against “the dark side of social media.”  

“I think there’s a ton of appeal because it’s a young, good-looking couple in San Diego, [a] seemingly happy, sunny city with a downfall,” Christensen explains. “This guy is super well-known on TikTok, [with] more than a million followers… a lot of people know who he is, and he kind of goes missing on TikTok because he’s in jail!”

TikTok Star Murders appeals to a generation getting their entertainment fixes on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, and some might even recognize Abulaban, whose caricature-like impressions made him Insta-famous under the username “JinnKid.” Abulaban and his beautiful wife, Ana, had a social media influence many strive for in the days of content creation.

Tiktok Star Murders Key Art

“It’s not often you see a case like this where you can really get not only a glimpse but a massive picture of what their life was like,” Christensen told Oxygen.com.

What was Kelsey Christensen’s role?

During her time at Fox 5 San Diego, Christensen reported live from the luxurious high-rise Spire Apartments, where Abulaban was accused of murdering two people. At the scene, Christensen said to herself, “Something feels off” about the crime.

What ultimately secured Christensen’s interest was the “spectacle” Abulaban created while at his arraignment, as featured in TikTok Star Murders. There, the defendant was “screaming and spitting,” Christensen told Oxygen.com.

“I’m like, ‘I gotta write this guy; what is going on?’” she said.

Christensen followed through, writing a letter to Abulaban behind bars and explaining her coverage of the story.

“We know how much he likes being in the limelight, so he wrote me back and said, ‘Yes, I would love to get my story out,’ and he did,” said the reporter. “And so, we did a jailhouse interview for almost 45 minutes. I was surprised they let him go that long, but they were likely listening for some sort of confession.”

It wasn’t unheard of for Christensen to write to suspects in the cases she covered, especially for the sake of fair journalism. In this case, Christensen admitted, she wanted to get “into the mind of a killer.”

As seen in the taped interview, Abulaban gave what Christensen called “a half confession,” stopping short of an explicit one. Even as shocking, Abulaban’s statements came at some of the earliest stages of his legal proceedings, just after his arraignment.

“It was very odd because it was so clear that this person has some demons that he’s grappling with,” Christensen continued. “Like you saw in the trial, he’ll be very calm, and then out of nowhere fly off the handle, and spit’s flying on the glass, and he’s screaming, and I’m just like sitting there remaining my composure because I didn’t want to rile him up, either.”

Abulaban told Christensen that speaking to her was against the advice of his legal representation, but he said it was vital that he get his narrative out. At the conclusion of their meeting, Abulaban even flashed the reporter a sign of a heart with his hands, something Christensen called “just bizarre.”

Christensen on the “warning signs” found in TikTok Star Murders

A personal photo of Ana and Ali Abulaban

TikTok Star Murders places great emphasis on the threat of intimate partner violence and highlights how many victims can often suffer in silence, as presented in never-before-seen footage from those involved.

“I think the biggest takeaway is there are so many warning signs,” said Christensen. “There are so many warning signs, especially in this case; I mean, my goodness.”

Christensen noted that multiple people close to the couple were aware of possible domestic violence in the Abulaban household, past police involvement, and the victim’s desire to seek out a restraining order.

“I just hope it’s a lesson to anyone who might be dealing with any degree of domestic violence, that it needs to be addressed,” said Christensen. “There needs to be a proper chain of order to deal with this sort of stuff because you might not even realize that you’re in it because you’re being brainwashed.”

She called TikTok Star Murders a “clear case” of others not seeing the warning signs or, worse yet, seeing them and ignoring them.

“I hope that this does not happen to anyone else and that this helps people bring things to the light,” Christensen said.

Don’t miss TikTok Star Murders, now streaming exclusively on Peacock.