The Mysterious Disappearance of Don Lewis
Don Lewis was a wealthy businessman in Tampa, Florida, known for his chain of used car dealerships and exotic animal parks. He was a self-made man who started his business from scratch and made millions. However, on August 18, 1997, Don Lewis went missing, and his disappearance remains a mystery to this day.
The Relationship between Don Lewis and Carole Baskin
Don Lewis was married to Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit animal sanctuary in Tampa. The couple had a tumultuous relationship, often arguing and fighting over money and their animal sanctuary. Carole claimed that Don was abusive towards her and threatened to kill her, which she documented in a restraining order against him. Don, on the other hand, claimed that Carole was controlling and manipulative and wanted to take over his business and wealth.
The Disappearance of Don Lewis
The day Don Lewis went missing, he told his assistant that he was going to Costa Rica, where he had a property and planned to expand his animal sanctuary. He left his wife, children, and his vast wealth behind. However, he never returned, and his disappearance was reported to the police by his family.
The investigation into Don Lewis’s disappearance was slow and difficult. There were no clues or evidence of foul play, and Carole Baskin was never charged or arrested. However, many rumors and conspiracy theories surfaced, implicating Carole and her animal sanctuary in Don’s disappearance.
Theories Surrounding Don Lewis’s Disappearance
One of the main theories is that Carole was involved in Don’s disappearance and possibly had him killed to gain control of his wealth and business. The theory is based on several factors, including Carole’s motive, opportunity, and behavior after Don’s disappearance.
Carole’s motive to harm Don was allegedly to gain control of his wealth and business, which she could not do while he was still alive. Don had a vast estate worth millions of dollars, and Carole owned a non-profit animal sanctuary that relied on donations and volunteers. Carole had stated in her diary that she was worried about Don and his business and wrote, “Some of it may go to D. if he leaves me or is dead, but not a lot.”
Carole also had the opportunity to harm Don. She was the last person to see him alive and had access to his properties, including the Costa Rican property where he allegedly was going. She also had the knowledge of his regular routine, and therefore could have planned his disappearance to look like he left for Costa Rica when he did not.
Carole’s behavior after Don’s disappearance also raised suspicion. She did not report him missing for several days, and when she did, she did not seem overly concerned or emotional. She also reportedly made conflicting statements about his disappearance and refused to take a polygraph test.
Another theory is that Don faked his own death and fled to Costa Rica, leaving behind his family and wealth. This theory is based on Don’s history of making risky investments and engaging in illegal activities. He was a convicted felon for trafficking in wildlife, and he had been sued by his former partners for embezzlement.
Don also had a history of disappearing and reappearing. He had previously disappeared before, returning after a few days or weeks and claiming that he was in hiding from people who were trying to harm him. Therefore, this theory suggests that Don may have staged his own disappearance to start a new life in a foreign country.
However, this theory also has its flaws. If Don had planned and executed the disappearance himself, he would have left behind a paper trail, such as credit card transactions, bank accounts, and communications. No such evidence was found, and no one has reported seeing or communicating with him after he disappeared.
The Legacy of Don Lewis’s Disappearance
The mystery of Don Lewis’s disappearance remains unsolved, and the truth may never be known. However, his disappearance has driven a lot of media attention and controversy, thanks to the popular Netflix documentary series, Tiger King. The series portrayed Carole Baskin as a villain and suggested that she was involved in Don’s disappearance.
Carole has denied any involvement in Don’s disappearance and called the series a “notorious con artist” and “a serial liar.” She also offered a $100,000 reward for any information on Don’s whereabouts or fate.
In conclusion, the mystery of Don Lewis’s disappearance is one of the most compelling unsolved cases in recent history. The theories and rumors surrounding his disappearance suggest that foul play may have been involved, and Carole Baskin’s involvement remains a subject of debate and speculation. However, until new evidence emerges, the truth about what happened to Don Lewis will remain a mystery.