Police are asking people for help to solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Jack “Don” Lewis, the millionaire husband of Carole Baskin.
Baskin is the animal activist and founder of Big Cat Rescue who starred on Netflix’s hit docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.
According to TMZ, law enforcement authorities said the cold case of the disappearance of Baskin’s husband, Don Lewis, remains open, and they are still looking for clues and evidence that could help them solve it.
The authorities are hoping that Tiger King fans might be able to help.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said that Jack “Don” Lewis was last seen on August 18, 1997.
The authorities declared Lewis officially dead in 2002. No one has ever been charged in the case, and Lewis’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
However, police investigators now believe they have a chance to obtain new leads about the cold case after Netflix’s hit show, Tiger King, made millions aware of the mystery.
“I figured it was time to use the popularity of the show to see if anyone wanted to come forward with new leads,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a Twitter post.
Since @netflix and #Covid19 #Quarantine has made #TigerKing all the rage, I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads. #CaroleBaskin #DonLewis #Netflix #Tiger #BigCatRescue #JoeExotic #TigerKingNetflix #HCSO pic.twitter.com/LHoJcBZVOI
— Chad Chronister (@ChadChronister) March 30, 2020
Who was Don Lewis?
Don Lewis was a millionaire from Tampa, born on April 30, 1938. He met Baskin when she was 19 years old. An affair blossomed between them that led Lewis to divorce his wife and marry Baskin.
Together, Baskin and Lewis started a big cat sanctuary in the 1990s that reportedly housed about 200 cats.
Lewis vanished without a trace in August 1997, and police investigators have not been able to solve the mystery of his disappearance.
Lewis’s children alleged that Baskin fed her husband to her tigers
Lewis’ children with his first wife reportedly alleged that Baskin was behind their father’s disappearance. They claimed that Baskin might have fed him to her tigers.
According to Lewis’s daughter Donna Pettis in a 1998 interview with PEOPLE:
“It’s a perfect scenario to dispose of someone. We were upset that the cops didn’t test the DNA on the meat grinder.”
However, Carole has repeatedly denied having any knowledge of her husband’s disappearance.
Reacting to allegations that she might have fed Lewis to her tigers, she reportedly told PEOPLE :
“My tigers eat meat; they don’t eat people. There would be bones and remains of my husband out there. I’m amazed that people would even think such a thing.”
Carole married Howard Baskin after Lewis disappeared.
People have been speculating about Lewis’s disappearance
As previously reported, others have also speculated about the mysterious disappearance of Baskin’s husband.
Much of the speculation and rumor-mongering on social media is derived ultimately from the unsubstantiated claim that Baskin might have fed her husband to her tigers.
It’s been 24 hours since I finished #TigerKing – and I still think Carole Baskin killed her husband AND fed him to the Tigers. That was my biggest takeaway from the show!! Also, this is creepy. ??? pic.twitter.com/ot1pNn8l51
— Devin Newsom (@DevinNewsom) March 24, 2020
— ?Ryan? (@Really_Ry) March 20, 2020
Joe Exotic referenced the rumors about Baskin in a music video
Joe Exotic referenced the rumors that Baskin fed her husband to her tigers in a music video uploaded to his YouTube Channel, JoeExoticTV.
Joe Exotic’s music video, titled Here Kitty Kitty, references the unsubstantiated rumor. The music video shows a Baskin look-alike feeding raw meat to tigers.
She is holding a plate that has a model of a human head.
Joe Exotic and Baskin are archrivals, so it is not surprising that he would reference the rumors about her.
Baskin tried to put Joe out of business and successfully filed a $1 million civil lawsuit against him in 2013.