The Mysterious Disappearance of Don Lewis: A Look at the Case and the Accusations Against Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin, the co-founder of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, is best known for her appearance in Netflix’s 2020 hit docuseries “Tiger King.” As the series proved, Baskin had a long-standing feud with Joe Exotic, a fellow exotic animal keeper who was later sentenced to prison for murder-for-hire and animal cruelty.
However, the docuseries brought another controversy to the forefront of public attention: the disappearance of Baskin’s former husband, Don Lewis.
Lewis vanished without a trace on August 18, 1997. His disappearance sparked a widespread investigation, but his body has never been found, and no arrests have ever been made. Over the years, several rumors and theories have circulated about what might have happened to Lewis, many of which point fingers directly at Baskin.
The investigation into Lewis’s disappearance began in earnest in 1997 when his family reported him missing. Baskin told authorities that she last saw her husband on August 18, 1997, before he left their home in Tampa to fly to Costa Rica, where he owned properties and had been planning to move permanently.
Authorities never found any evidence of Lewis traveling to or being in Costa Rica. In fact, the last record of Lewis’s existence is him filing a restraining order against Baskin just two months before he went missing.
In the restraining order, Lewis claimed that Baskin threatened to kill him and had a history of abusing her animals. He also mentioned that Baskin was “mentally unstable” and had once purchased a gun with the intention of using it.
The restraining order would suggest that Baskin was capable of violence and that Lewis feared for his life at the time. However, Baskin has dismissed the claims made in the order, saying they were fabricated to secure his property in Costa Rica.
The Van and the Theories
Another piece of evidence against Baskin is the disappearance of Lewis’s van, which was found near a private airport. The keys to Lewis’s van were still in it, and his briefcase was found in the trunk. Additionally, Lewis’s scent dogs tracked his scent to the airport before losing the trail.
Many people believe that Lewis’s disappearance was an elaborate plan orchestrated by Baskin to gain control of his assets, including a $5 million estate. Some have even speculated that Baskin murdered Lewis, chopped up his body, and fed it to her tigers.
However, Baskin has always maintained her innocence in the case, calling the rumors “lies and speculation.” She has also suggested that Lewis’s business dealings in Costa Rica, which included illegal activity, may have led to his disappearance.
The Netflix Docuseries and its Impact
The case of Lewis’s disappearance, however, is still open and remains a mystery. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office continues to search for answers, and they have asked for anyone with information about the case to come forward.
The Sheriff’s Office has also recently asked for the public’s help in finding out what happened to Lewis. They have even created a website dedicated to the case, which includes a tip line, photos of Lewis, and a timeline of events surrounding his disappearance.
As of right now, there is no evidence that Baskin was directly involved in Lewis’s disappearance or murder. However, the rumors and accusations have taken a serious toll on Baskin’s life and reputation.
While the investigation into Lewis’s disappearance may never be fully resolved, the case serves as a reminder to always keep an open mind and be vigilant when it comes to investigating missing persons cases.
It is important to remember that there are real people involved in these cases, whose families and loved ones deserve closure and answers. The case of Don Lewis is no exception, and the continued investigation and search for the truth is crucial in finding justice for him and his family.
In conclusion, the disappearance of Don Lewis is a mystery that has captivated the public’s attention for over two decades. While the accusations against Carole Baskin remain just that, accusations, the investigation into Lewis’s disappearance continues to be a high-profile case.
The public can only hope that the Sheriff’s Office will be able to find answers and bring closure to the family of Don Lewis. Until then, the case will forever be associated with the name of Carole Baskin, further adding to the controversy and speculation surrounding the “Tiger King” phenomenon.