The Mysterious Disappearance of Travis Maldonado, Joe Exotic’s Third Husband: What We Know So Far
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, has become a household name following the Netflix series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness.” While he is infamous for his feud with animal rights activist Carole Baskin and his conviction for the murder-for-hire plot against her, one aspect of his life remains shrouded in mystery – the baffling disappearance of his third husband, Travis Maldonado.
Who Was Travis Maldonado?
Travis Maldonado was a 22-year-old man from California who moved to Oklahoma to work at Joe Exotic’s G.W. Exotic Animal Park. He was an ex-convict and a drug addict seeking a fresh start at the zoo. In 2014, Joe married Travis and his other employee, John Finlay, in a three-way ceremony. However, their marriage was far from conventional, and Joe was known for his numerous extramarital affairs, including with other male employees at the park.
Travis’ life in the zoo was full of chaos and turmoil. According to the Netflix series, he struggled with substance abuse and suffered from depression. The situation was worsened by Joe’s alleged physical and mental abuse towards him. The zookeeper reportedly kept Travis on a tight leash, and he was not allowed to leave the park without permission.
The Death of Travis Maldonado
On October 6, 2017, Travis was at the park with Joe and another employee, Kelci “Saff” Saffery. The three were reportedly playing with guns and having a good time. Travis allegedly aimed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger, thinking that the weapon did not contain a bullet. Unfortunately, he was wrong, and the gun went off, killing him instantly.
The incident was deemed an accident, and no charges were filed against Joe or the other employee. However, the circumstances surrounding Travis’ death have raised numerous questions and suspicions. Some people believe that Travis’ death was a suicide, and others speculate that it was a murder.
Some factors make Travis’ death seem suspicious. Firstly, the place where the bullet entered Travis’ head was not consistent with the angle at which he held the gun. Secondly, some people believe that Joe had a motive to kill Travis. Reports suggest that Travis had threatened to leave Joe and take all his animals with him, which could have been a devastating blow for Joe. Additionally, Travis allegedly began to speak out against Joe’s abusive behavior towards him.
Joe’s behavior after Travis’ death has raised red flags as well. He did not attend Travis’ funeral and promptly replaced him with another young man, Dillon Passage. Joe also destroyed numerous videos and photos of Travis, including his wedding pictures. Furthermore, several people who knew Joe and Travis have reported that their relationship was deeply troubled and abusive.
The disappearance of Travis Maldonado has not been investigated thoroughly, and some people believe that the entire incident was swept under the rug due to Joe’s power, influence, and wealth. Concerns about the competence of the local authorities to conduct a proper investigation have also been raised. The zoo was located in Garvin County, Oklahoma, which has a population of around 27,000 people and limited resources to investigate complex cases.
The disappearance of Joe Exotic’s third husband, Travis Maldonado, remains a mystery. While it is unclear what exactly happened to Travis, there are several indications that suggest that his death might not have been an accident. Allegations of abuse, murmurings of a motive, and concerns about the thoroughness of the investigation continue to linger. While Joe Exotic’s flamboyant persona and legal issues have kept him in the headlines, the tragedy that befell Travis’ life and death should never be forgotten.