Netflix's Tiger King Resurfaces Millionaire's Disappearance

Sheriff is asking for tips in 1997 vanishing of Don Lewis, then husband of Carole Baskin
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2020 3:30 PM CDT
Netflix's Tiger King Resurfaces Millionaire's Disappearance
In this July 20, 2017 file photo, Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, walks the property near Tampa, Fla. Baskin was married to Jack “Don” Lewis, whose 1997 disappearance remains unsolved and is the subject of a new Netflix series “Tiger King.”   (Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

The most popular show on Netflix on Tuesday is its series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Ditto on Monday. Rotten Tomatoes similarly lists it as the most popular show on TV right now. A Florida sheriff has taken note. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is leveraging the show's popularity into a request for tips into the August 1997 disappearance of multimillionaire Don Lewis—who is presumed dead and was the husband of animal rights activist Carole Baskin. She figures heavily in the show, in which she's accused by some of killing Lewis and feeding him to her tigers. (For those unfamiliar with the 7-episode series, it revolves around a cast of tiger-loving and -keeping characters, including Oklahoma zookeeper Joseph Exotic, who is serving time for plotting to have Baskin killed.)

"Since @netflix and #Covid19 #Quarantine has made #TigerKing all the rage, I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads," Chronister tweeted Monday. The AP reports Lewis vanished ahead of a planned business trip to Costa Rica; NBC News adds his van was discovered with the keys on the floor at an area airport. Authorities searched for him in both Costa Rica and on the couple's wildlife sanctuary. Carole Baskin denies any involvement in his disappearance and has since remarried. But even without Chronister's tweet, the tips were flowing. He tells CNN that since the documentary's March 20 debut his office has gotten about six tips per day—none credible so far. Still, a detective supervisor has been assigned to the case, and "we hope to close [it] soon with the help of the public," Chronister says. (Read much more about the show here.)

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