The first husband of Carole Baskin, Tiger King star, is being debated online after a report reemerged suggesting federal authorities found him alive and was swiftly dismissed as inaccurate by local cops.
According to reports, the buzz began as social media users viewed an interview that Baskin did in 2021 for the British network ITV where she responded to claims made in the sequel to the hit Netflix documentary that she had something to do with the disappearance of Don Lewis. Lewis was Baskin’s first husband who had gone missing since August 18, 1997. Baskin stated that the Department of Homeland Security told her that he was “alive and well.”
“They said that my husband, Don Lewis, is alive and well in Costa Rica,” Baskin said during her appearance on ITV’s This Morning. “And yet all this hay has been made about me having something to do with his disappearance, when Homeland Security has known where he is, at least since back then.” Her website has a picture of the alleged letter she received from the agency. Baskin was not involved in the making of Tiger King 2.
“For everyone who still wants to believe that Carole killed Don, then please explain to us why you think armchair detectives … are better informed than the Special Agent in Charge at the FBI in this Homeland Security Document which says Don Lewis is currently alive and well in Costa Rica,” the statement issued on the site said.
“We have not received any communication from our federal partners that confirms the location of missing person Mr. Don Lewis,” said Fentress Fountain, a public information officer with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in a statement. They still deem the case a high priority, despite Lewis being declared legally dead in 2002.
Many who have watched the original Tiger King documentary have voiced their suspicions that Baskin had a hand in her husband’s disappearance, which Baskin consistently denies. Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado, the prime subject of the documentary who is now serving time in prison is the loudest among them. His lawyer, John Phillips, took to Twitter to issue a statement. “During the filming of Tiger King, detailed efforts were made to find Don Lewis. They failed. He is not alive,” he said.