Don Lewis’s Family Offers $100k To Help Solve The Case Of Carole Baskin’s Missing Husband
Tiger King strikes again!
The family of Don Lewis, who appeared in the hit Netflix documentary series, Tiger King, alongside his now ex-wife, Carole Baskin, has offered up $100,000 in exchange for any information leading to solving the case of the missing man.
The family attorney, John Phillips, held a news conference on Monday in Tampa, Florida announcing an independent investigation into Lewis’s disappearance.
He also revealed that Lewis’s family has filed a lawsuit against 59-year-old Baskin in an attempt to get her to speak on the record.
Three of Lewis’s daughters were in attendance at the news conference. Lewis’s youngest daughter, Gale Rathbone, graciously thanked the public for their interest in the case.
“Amazingly, our little family tragedy has become your tragedy. Our search for closure and truth has become your mission also,” she said. “We all know by now that (Lewis) was not a perfect man. But do only the perfect among us deserve justice?”
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Lewis mysteriously vanished a day before a scheduled trip to Costa Rica and was never found. He was legally declared dead in 2002.
Lewis and Baskin started the animal sanctuary seen in the documentary series, which later became Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.
Tiger King followed the eccentric “Joe Exotic,” a flamboyant man with a love of big cats, around his animal park in Oklahoma.
Earlier this year, Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot.
The zookeeper was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill Baskin, after she continuously tried to shut his business down, accusing the Oklahoma animal park staff of abusing animals and selling big cat cubs.
To get back at Baskin, Exotic began asking outlandish questions about what actually happened to Baskin’s former husband. In the documentary, Exotic can be seen claiming that Baskin killed her husband and possibly fed him to her tigers.
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Baskin has adamantly denied all the claims and has never been charged with any crime in connection with the disappearance of her former husband.
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Known for her emails, Baskin sent one to the Associated Press Monday: “It’s been my policy not to discuss pending litigation until it’s been resolved," she wrote.
“I had told some news outlets that I thought the press conference on Aug. 10 was just a publicity stunt, but at that time was not aware there would be pending litigation.”
Baskin is still the owner of Big Cat Rescue, while Exotic remains in prison.
The judge found that the ownership of Exotic's zoo was fraudulently transferred to his mother in an attempt to avoid paying the judgment. In June, a Federal Judge granted control of Joe Exotic’s animal park over to Baskin.
Baskin previously sued Exotic for trademark and copyright infringements and won a $1 million civil judgment against him.
After the wildly popular Netflix series premiered, the Hillsborough County sheriff announced that they would reopen the case into Lewis’s disappearance.