Carole Baskin and Don Lewis: The Ongoing Mystery of his Age
Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue and one of the stars of the hit docuseries “Tiger King,” has been the center of controversy and mystery surrounding her missing husband Don Lewis. While the investigation into his disappearance has been ongoing for over two decades, one aspect of the case that has recently come under question is Don’s age at the time of his disappearance. Some theories suggest that Don’s age might have been different from what had been previously believed, which could have important implications for the case.
The Disappearance of Don Lewis
Don Lewis was last seen on August 18, 1997, by his wife at the time, Carole Baskin. He was 59 years old at the time and had been living in Tampa, Florida. On the night of his disappearance, he told his assistant that he was planning to leave for a trip to Costa Rica, where he had been looking to buy real estate. Don never returned from his trip, and his whereabouts have remained unknown ever since.
For years, the case remained cold until the release of “Tiger King” on Netflix in 2020, which reignited public interest in the case. The docuseries featured interviews with Carole Baskin and her rival, the flamboyant tiger breeder Joe Exotic, who suggested that Carole had something to do with her husband’s disappearance. According to Joe Exotic, Carole may have fed her husband to the tigers at her sanctuary, which she vehemently denies.
The Mystery of Don’s Age
One of the arguments that has been raised by Joe Exotic and others who question Carole’s involvement in Don’s disappearance is that his age might have been different from what had been previously reported. Some have suggested that Don might have been older than 59 when he vanished, which could have implications for the timeline of events leading up to his disappearance and the possible motives behind it.
The confusion over Don’s age is not entirely unfounded. According to public records, Don was born on April 30, 1938, which would make him 59 at the time of his disappearance. However, some have pointed to a different birthdate that is recorded in other records, which would make him older. For example, a documentary on Investigation Discovery that aired in September 2020 featured a private investigator who claimed to have found evidence that Don was actually born in 1930, making him 67 at the time of his disappearance.
The private investigator, Jim Rathmann, said that he found Don’s high school yearbook from the 1950s, which listed his birth year as 1930. Rathmann also claimed that he had interviewed several people who knew Don, including his former business partner, who all confirmed that he was born in 1930. However, other sources have disputed Rathmann’s claims, saying that his evidence is not conclusive and that there is no definitive proof of Don’s correct birthdate.
The Implications of Don’s Age
If it turned out that Don was older than 59 at the time of his disappearance, it could have important implications for the case. For one, it could suggest that his trip to Costa Rica was not a vacation, as he would have been approaching retirement age. Instead, it might indicate that he was planning to retire in Costa Rica or perhaps start a new life there altogether. Additionally, if Don was indeed older, it could change the timeline of events leading up to his disappearance and make certain theories more or less likely.
For example, some theories suggest that Don may have faked his own death as a way to escape his troubled marriage to Carole. If Don was older than 59, it might make this theory more plausible, as he would have been at an age where retirement and starting a new life might have seemed more appealing. On the other hand, if Don was younger than 59, it might make some of the more extreme theories, such as the idea that Carole fed him to tigers, more plausible, as he would have been at a stage in life where he might have been planning for his future.
The Ongoing Investigation
Despite the controversy surrounding Don’s age, the investigation into his disappearance continues to this day. In August 2020, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced that it was reopening the case and asking for any tips or information from the public. The reopening of the case followed the release of “Tiger King” and the renewed public interest in the case.
Carole Baskin has always maintained her innocence in her husband’s disappearance, and she has responded to the theories about his age with skepticism. In a blog post on her website, she stated that Don’s age is not in question and that the claims that he was older are simply a “false narrative.”
In conclusion, the mystery surrounding Don Lewis’s disappearance has been an ongoing source of speculation and controversy for over two decades. The recent revelations about his age have only added to the confusion, with some suggesting that he might have been older than originally believed. While the truth about Don’s age might never be fully resolved, it is clear that the search for answers into his disappearance will continue to captivate the public for years to come.