Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is asking for help after Tiger King brought the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s ex-husband, Jack “Don” Lewis, to the masses. Joe Exotic, also known as Joe Maldonado-Passage, long claimed that Big Cat Rescue CEO Baskin fed Lewis to her tigers.
There was never any proof of this and Baskin denied the allegations. Baskin has maintained she doesn’t know what happened to her late husband. With so much focus on the cold case through the popularity of Netflix’s Tiger King, the Hillsborough County Sheriff figured he would ask for some help.
On Monday, Chronister took to Twitter to share a poster that says, “Only YOU can help solve the Jack ‘Don’ Lewis cold case.” Lewis was last seen on August 18, 1997. He was declared legally dead five years later, but his body was never recovered. No one has been implicated in his death and there are no leads about his whereabouts.
“I figured it was time to use the popularity of the show to see if anyone wanted to come forward with new leads,” Chronister tweeted. Sheriff Chronister is hoping Tiger King fans can help solve the case. Anyone with information is being asked to call the Sheriff’s Office. If found, Lewis would be 81 years old and stands at 5-foot-10.
‘Tiger King’ Is a Cultural Phenomenon
With millions of Americans quarantined to their homes with nothing better to do than watched endless amounts of Netflix, The Tiger King has been the one show that nearly everyone is talking about. People, including celebrities, have been discussing what happened to Lewis and if Joe Exotic should be behind bars. He was sentenced to prison for 22 years in January after he was convicted on multiple charges, including an alleged murder-for-hire plot against Baskin.
Joe Exotic’s case has captivated the nation. He’s a former zoo owner, big cat lover, country singer, aspiring politician, wannabe reality TV star, vlogger and magician. He reportedly wants President Donald Trump to pardon him.
Rapper Cardi B wants Joe Exotic to be set free. “Bout to start a gofundme account for Joe .He shall be free,” she tweeted March 28.
Other celebrities, like Jared Leto, Edward Norton and Dax Shepard, having started putting in bids about who will play the big cat enthusiast in the biopic. “If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken,” Shepard wrote.
Baskin Slams ‘Tiger King’ as ‘Salacious and Sensational’
Almost everyone loves Tiger King—except for Baskin and her current husband, Howard Baskin.
“There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the series not only does not do any of that, but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers,” the Big Cat Rescue CEO wrote in a March 29 blog post on her website. “As part of that, it has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don in 1997.”
She claimed she was misled by Netflix producers. “When the directors of the Netflix documentary Tiger King came to us five years ago they said they wanted to make the big cat version of Blackfish (the documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld) that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive,” she said.
Howard Baskin defended his wife in a Facebook video. “In 15 years of living together, we have never had an argument,” he said. “We have never even had a harsh word where the other had to come back later and say, ‘I’m sorry I said that.'”