The Controversy Surrounding Carole Baskin and the Disappearance of Don Lewis
Carole Baskin is a name that has been in the headlines a lot lately, thanks to the hugely popular Netflix documentary Tiger King. The series introduced viewers to a host of big cat enthusiasts and animal collectors, many of whom were embroiled in a series of wild and often lawless schemes involving the animals they were supposed to be caring for. But of all the characters featured in the documentary, none is more controversial than Baskin herself, who has been accused by many viewers of killing her husband, Don Lewis.
The Disappearance of Don Lewis
Lewis was a wealthy businessman who had made his fortune in the world of exotic animals, and he had a passion for big cats that was well-known in the community. He and Baskin started dating in the early 1990s, and their relationship quickly blossomed into a marriage. But things soon began to sour between the couple, with allegations of infidelity and domestic abuse on both sides. Baskin filed a restraining order against Lewis in 1997, and the couple ultimately divorced.
But it was what happened next that has captured the public’s imagination. On August 18, 1997, just a few months after the divorce was finalized, Lewis disappeared without a trace. His car was found at a small airport in Tampa, Florida, with the keys still in the ignition and a briefcase he was known to carry missing. His disappearance sparked a massive investigation, but no trace of Lewis was ever found. Baskin has always maintained that she had nothing to do with the disappearance, but that hasn’t stopped many people from accusing her of foul play.
Suspicions Against Carole Baskin
One of the main reasons people suspect Baskin is because of Lewis’s will. In the months leading up to his disappearance, Lewis had been discussing the possibility of leaving Baskin and cutting her out of his will entirely. He told friends and family members that he was unhappy in his marriage and was planning to file for divorce. This would have been a significant financial blow to Baskin, who had built her own animal sanctuary with Lewis’s money.
When Lewis’s will was finally found, it contained a number of bizarre provisions that added fuel to the speculation that Baskin had something to do with his disappearance. The will was witnessed by two of Baskin’s employees, and it stated that in the event of Lewis’s death or disappearance, all of his assets would be left to Baskin. It also included a mysterious provision that stated that in the event of his death, he wanted his body to be cremated and his ashes scattered in Costa Rica, a country he was known to have visited frequently.
Carole Baskin’s Defense
In the years since Lewis’s disappearance, Baskin has maintained her innocence, and she has repeatedly brushed off rumors that she had anything to do with it. In fact, she has used the controversy to her advantage, even selling T-shirts on her website that read “Hey all you cool cats and kittens” – a phrase she became known for during the documentary.
But the speculation surrounding Lewis’s disappearance has not gone away, and in fact, it has only grown in recent years. In 2011, Lewis’s ex-wife and his daughters filed a lawsuit against Baskin, accusing her of killing Lewis and hiding his body. The suit alleges that Lewis was planning to take legal action against Baskin before he disappeared, and that Baskin was motivated by a desire to keep his money and his animals.
Baskin has denied all of the allegations in the lawsuit, and she has continued to insist that she had nothing to do with Lewis’s disappearance. In a statement to People magazine in 2017, she said, “I have always been one of the most vocal advocates for finding out what happened to Don, and I still am.” She also pointed out that she had passed a polygraph test related to the case, although polygraph results are not admissible in court.
Despite Baskin’s denials, the speculation surrounding Lewis’s disappearance has sparked a renewed interest in the case, and many people believe that it is only a matter of time before the truth finally comes to light. In fact, the Hillsborough County sheriff’s office has recently reopened the investigation into Lewis’s disappearance, following renewed public interest in the case.
Whether or not Baskin had anything to do with Lewis’s disappearance, there can be no denying that it is a fascinating and mysterious case that has captivated the public’s imagination for more than two decades. As the investigation continues, it is likely that we will learn more about what happened to Don Lewis – and whether or not Carole Baskin played a role in his disappearance