“Tiger King” is returning for a second season on Netflix, bringing with it a renewed interest in the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s former husband Don Lewis. She addresses the rumors head-on in a Reddit AMA, which stands for “Ask Me Anything.”
According to CBS News, Baskin and Lewis carried on a decade-long affair before he divorced his first wife Gladys in 1990. The couple then wed the following year and opened the animal sanctuary, Wildlife on Easy Street. It later became Big Cat Rescue.
CBS News described their relationship as rocky at the time of his disappearance. Lewis was reported missing on August 19, 1997 and was declared dead in 2002. The only evidence recovered was his van at a nearby airport, the publication added.
Here’s what you need to know:
Baskin Theorizes Lewis Died in a Plane Crash
Addressing the elephant in the chat room, one Reddit user wrote, “What do you think happened to your missing husband?”
The former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant responded with her theory he died in a plane crash.
“Don loved to fly and was looking to buy ultralights and experimental planes,” Baskin wrote. “I believe Don crashed a small experimental plane or ultralight into the Gulf for a number of reasons.”
She claimed that despite being unlicensed, Lewis often flew and did so without filing flight plans to avoid detection.
The 60-year-old continued, “He had to fly under 200 feet to stay off the radar which means he would typically fly out over the Gulf because the air is smoother there, whereas over land there are up and down drafts that will crash you at the height. Since phone records indicated he was planning to go to Texas, and his van was found at a small private airstrip and we have never found Don or wreckage, I think this was the most likely scenario.”
Joe Exotic Accused Baskin of Feeding Lewis to Tigers
While Baskin repeatedly denies any involvement in his disappearance, rumors persist to the contrary. The star of “Tiger King,” Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage, accuses Baskin of feeding her husband to tigers in his song, “Here Kitty Kitty.”
On Reddit she explained the tigers’ diets, writing, “We feed our tigers beef, chicken, turkey, rat and rabbits and they are purr-snickety! It’s extremely difficult to get a tiger or any big cat to eat something that isn’t common for them.”
Maldonado-Passage is currently in jail for a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin and animal abuse, BBC details.
Hillsborough Country Sheriff Chad Chronister told People that Baskin is not a suspect or even a person of interest, but he hopes to get a lead from the case’s renewed attention.
“Once I saw how popular this Netflix documentary series has become, I’m like, ‘Listen, we need to take advantage of this,’” Chronister told the outlet. “I just thought, Wouldn’t it be phenomenal if we could glimmer some type of evidence, an interview, anything that would help us solve this disappearance case?’”
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