Massive Reward Offered in Case of Carole Baskin's Missing Husband

$100K up for grabs for information leading to Don Lewis
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2020 12:55 AM CDT
Massive Reward Offered in Case of Carole Baskin's Missing Husband
In this July 20, 2017, file photo, Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, walks the property near Tampa, Fla.   (Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

Thanks to Tiger King, a two-decade-old cold case has come under renewed scrutiny—and now a massive reward is being offered for information leading to long overdue answers in that case. Viewers of the Netflix documentary know that Jack "Don" Lewis, then-husband of "Tiger King" Joe Exotic's enemy Carole Baskin, went missing in 1997 and was declared dead in 2002; he left most of his estate, including the private Tampa zoo that would eventually become Big Cat Rescue, to Baskin. Many have suggested Baskin was actually behind Lewis' fate, and investigators have reopened the case. Now Lewis' family is asking anyone with information to come forward—and is offering a $100,000 reward as incentive, Fox 5 DC reports. They're also publicizing the big reward with billboards around Tampa asking, "Who killed Don Lewis?"

"We worked for weeks in raising this money," said his oldest daughter at a press conference Monday. "We're hoping that with these funds someone will have the courage to come forward and provide the information to solve this case." Adds the family spokesperson (who, WFLA reports, has been documenting the Lewis probe on his YouTube channel), "We really need someone to come forward. There [are] a lot of people who have information who are afraid to come forward … they are worried that if they come forward they will be charged for a crime." And the family lawyer specifically mentioned Baskin: "Resolving this case is in everyone's best interest," he said. "I believe it's in Carole Baskin's best interest. I invite her to the table. I invite her to talk, and let us know what really happened." Baskin says in a statement she believes the whole thing is a publicity stunt to get YouTube views, but that she does hope Lewis is found. (More Tiger King stories.)

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