$100K Reward Offered For Info On Disappearance Of Former Husband Of 'Tiger King' Star Carole Baskin – Forbes


Don Lewis, the former husband of Carole Baskin of “Tiger King” fame, disappeared in 1997 and Lewis’ family has now hired an attorney who announced a renewed investigation into the disappearance, with the family also offering a reward of $100,000 in exchange for information to help solve the case.

Joe Exotic and Tiger King



Jack Donald “Don” Lewis, a Florida millionaire, vanished on the morning of August 18, 1997, after leaving his home in Tampa, a day before a scheduled trip to Costa Rica.

He was never found and was declared legally dead in April of 2002, on the fifth anniversary of his disappearance.

Lewis, who reportedly left behind $5 million in assets, was married to Carole Baskin, who was featured prominently in the massively popular Netflix series, “Tiger King.”

Late last week, the legal team representing the Lewis family filed a lawsuit against Baskin, aiming to depose her and have her testify on the record.

In June, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announced that two experts hired by the department could not verify Lewis’ will.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the forged will gave Baskin most of her millionaire ex-husband’s estate and private Tampa zoo, which she turned to Big Cat Rescue after his death.

Crucial Quote: 

“I believe it is a publicity stunt orchestrated by (family spokesman) Jack Smith to bolster his YouTube views but do hope that all of the attention from Tiger King and the aftermath will result in us finding Don,” Baskin wrote in an email to local news outlet WFLA. 

Key Background:

“Tiger King”, which debuted on March 20, near the start of U.S. stay-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, was immensely popular. Over its first 10 days on Netflix, it generated 34.1 million views. The docu-series details the drama-filled run-ins between eccentric Joe Exotic and Baskin, a fellow exotic animal zookeeper. Baskin has consistently denied rampant speculation that she was even tangentially involved in Lewis’ disappearance. Variety reported earlier this summer that “Tiger King” has been optioned for a scripted series, with Nicolas Cage set to play Joe Exotic.

Big Number: 

22: Joe Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison sentence for plotting to murder Baskin and abusing animals, though he has maintained his innocence and appealed to a higher court.

Further Reading:

$100,000 offered for info on disappearance of Don Lewis, former husband of ‘Tiger King’ star Carole Baskin, as his fam launches investigation (Daily News) 

All Of The ‘Tiger King’ Drama That Has Unfolded Since The Series Ended (Forbes) 

Netflix’s Quirky ‘Tiger King’ Becomes Breakout Pandemic Hit (Bloomberg) 

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