Here’s why the internet thinks Carole Baskin killed her husband
Reason one: Because she did.
The entire cast of colorful personalities on Tiger King all has their dark secrets that play into the story of Joe Exotic’s downfall. But no story is any darker than Carole Baskin and her missing husband. While Kate McKinnon is taking on the story in a dramatic light, people are still asking questions about Don Lewis’s disappearance.
In case all these names are foreign to you and you managed to miss Tiger King in your quarantine bubble, let’s recap. Joe Exotic was an exotic animal zoo owner/black market animal dealer, who was arrested in 2018 for animal abuse at the zoo, as well as a murder for hire scheme. Who did Joe try to kill? Carole.
What the heck does Carole’s husband have to do with this?
As part of Tiger King, all the players in Exotic’s story were sat down and interviewed for the docuseries. Naturally, Carole Baskin was also asked to participate, and agreed. As the leader of the charge against Exotic and his zoo, Baskin and her group Big Cat Rescue constantly attacked Exotic and his treatment of animals.
But a big part of their feud that escalated it to attempted murder was Baskin’s second husband, Don Lewis. The two married in 1991, but in 1997, Lewis mysteriously disappeared without even a note. While on record, Lewis was declared legally dead in 2002, he was never found.
Naturally, everyone looks to their spouse when people disappear. No charges were set against Baskin for Lewis’s disappearance, but that didn’t stop Exotic from constantly accusing Baskin of murdering her husband.
What evidence points to Baskin as a murderer?
In the months leading up to his disappearance, Lewis made it clear he was interested in moving to Costa Rica. He was always flying on a regular basis for his sex addiction anyway. He followed these claims up by transferring ownership of his Florida properties to his Costa Rican company.
But the really convincing claims are the restraining order against Baskin Lewis attempted to file, as well as his desire to divorce Baskin. Baskin and Lewis got together while they were cheating on their respective spouses, so Lewis was known to be unfaithful. Plus, Big Cat employees noted Baskin was very skeptical of people.
A new door opens
Like many police departments before them, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office took the newfound publicity from Tiger King to reinvigorate the case of Lewis’s disappearance. The case was never officially closed to begin with, so it was easy for the department to hop right back into the investigation.
But of course, this led the internet to start assuming there’s a new development thanks to the show and that’s why they reopened the case. Now the web’s top Twitter detectives are trying to solve Lewis’s disappearance to help the Hillsborough County police.
The police denied at first that Lewis was killed, and feel this is either him running away with no word, or him being kidnapped. But internet detectives are willing to prove the opposite to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Not so innocent himself
But Lewis was far from a good man himself. Since Tiger King‘s release, Baskin has released an article on the Big Cat Rescue website painting a clearer picture of what happened. The piece entitled Refuting Netflix Tiger King paints Lewis as an abusive husband who no one should pity.
She paints Lewis in his later years as a man losing his mind through Alzhiemers disease, constantly buying junk that he wants to fix up, but forget about. As he would take his escapades to Costa Rica, she spent the weekends trying to dump as much of the trash as possible.
His anger about her getting rid of his stuff is what motivated the restraining order he was denied for in June. Lewis left that with his assistant that was fired for embezzling money from Big Cat Rescue, who then didn’t bring it up until three weeks after Lewis’ disappearance.
An ex-wife gold digger
In Tiger King, Lewis’ ex-wife and children do anything but talk highly of Baskin. Of course, Lewis was cheating for years on Gladys before Baskin came into the picture, but that doesn’t make for good TV. As the main proprietors of the “ground up and fed to tigers” theory, Baskin says their greed for Lewis’ fortune is what led them to spread such lies.
When Lewis and Gladys Lewis Cross got divorced in 1989, Lewis let her and her children handpick the properties, as well as give cars, cash, jewelry, and coins in the divorce proceedings. But her oldest daughter managed to lose her portion thanks to bad stock market decisions within only a few years.
With the green-eyed monster under her skin and a hatred for Baskin, Cross filed a lawsuit in 1996 saying she should’ve gotten more in their agreement. After this, Lewis told Baskin to take them off the PRSL trust as beneficiaries, but she didn’t want him to change his mind in the future, and left them on. But Lewis didn’t say another word to any of them again.
More than one killer
Of course, as Baskin has pleaded her case of innocence, police are still looking for answers to where Lewis’ body is. Since there’s no body, police are still almost 100% convinced that he was killed. But they think he wasn’t killed by just one person.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a TMZ interview that this wasn’t just one killer, but at least two. “This had to be well thought out. There’s someone else involved in this. There’s someone who was paid to do it. There’s someone who helped do it.”
It would definitely be ironic if Baskin was involved in her own murder-for-hire scheme. Plus it makes sense that to properly hide Lewis and keep quiet, it would need to be at least a two man job. But there’s no suspects yet as to who that second person could be, unless it was just someone paid for this one hitman job.
Plus, police have said that there’s not enough evidence against Baskin. It’s not surprising. The private detective Baskin hired in 1998 had nothing but nice things to say about her, and at least in the police’s eyes, she did everything she could to try and help find Lewis.
Maybe Netflix just wanted to paint another villain with Carole Baskin, and overdramatized the story of Lewis’ disappearance. Unfortunately, with 20 years passed since the man disappeared, it’s hard to know if Lewis’ body will ever be recovered.
We hope the truth does come to light though. Whether Baskin killed her husband or it was someone else, we want the guilty party to confess and give peace to his case. Heck, if Lewis is alive drinking margaritas in Costa Rica, hopefully he’ll show himself and put an end to these claims.
Curious about the other cast members on Tiger King? We were too, which was why we wrote a whole piece about them – check it out here.
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