By now, you’ve watched the Netflix docu-drama that everyone’s talking about. You could argue that half the people on ‘Tiger King’ need to be in drug and alcohol treatment centers or prison. So far, Joe Exotic is behind bars for his attempt at ordering a hit on Carole Baskin. But internet sleuths are convinced that Baskin herself is a murderer.
Baskin runs the Big Cat Animal Sanctuary in Florida and had a long-running rivalry with Joe Exotic. She’s also at the center of a missing person case that some viewers believe is actually a murder. While the internet was captivated by her…um, unconventional fashion sense, others are convinced that she straight-up killed her husband and fed him to her tigers!
Baskin’s husband, Don Lewis, disappeared without a trace in 1997.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is in charge of the search for Don Lewis. He said since the premiere of ‘Tiger King,’ he gets “six calls a day” from people claiming to have information about Lewis.
“Most of them are theories,” Chronister told The Sun. “So far there’s no viable leads, but I’m hoping that will change. One thing I think we can all agree on is when things become popular, they will likely feel more comfortable, and I’m hoping that someone will now, 23 years later, feel more comfortable to come forward and provide that missing information that we need to solve this case.”
Baskin’s millionaire husband disappeared in 1997 after planning a trip to Costa Rica. Officials declared him legally dead in 2002. The official story is that Don Lewis died en route to Costa Rica. They never found his body.
“He had a home in Costa Rica, he had a girlfriend in Costa Rica, he had a property manager there, he had shady business dealings with individuals there,” Chronister confirmed.
The sheriff finds it very suspicious that Lewis did not attempt to take any of his millions with him. His will left everything to Baskin in the event of his death–or his disappearance. Chronister says that clause in the will is also deeply suspicious.
“The only theory I feel confident in is that he was killed… Now who did it or how it was done, that’s the missing piece of this entire investigation,” the sheriff said.
The most popular theory online? Baskin killed her husband and fed him to her tigers. In fact, Joe Exotic made a music video with a Baskin lookalike feeding fake body parts to tigers.
Baskin herself admitted that a person could theoretically grind up a body and cover it in sardine oil for the big cats. Other people think that she hid his body in the septic tank.
Whatever happened, it’s clear that Sheriff Chronister isn’t giving up the search for justice.