‘Tiger King’: Carole Baskin Missing Husband Case Has New Leads, Tampa Police Say

The case of Carole Baskin’s missing husband has been going on since 1997. The Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness added fuel to the mystery. Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister says there are some new leads that could hopefully give Lewis’s family some resolution, and possibly lead to Baskin’s conviction.

Tiger King: Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin | Netflix

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Chronister spoke with Tampa Bay 10 on June 2. The latest development involved Lewis’s will. Experts proved the will, which awarded Baskin his assets, was a forgery. However he also said new leads are bringing further developments to the investigation. 

The investigation into the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s husband continues after ‘Tiger King’

The producers of Tiger King ended up with a documentary about Josephe Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, going to prison for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin. Baskin was his rival in the tiger conservation scene, with her own Big Cat Rescue in Florida. Baskin herself, the filmmakers documented, had some unanswered questions about her missing husband. 

“I could tell you that the investigators have some great leads,” Chronister said. “They’re working through them. I hope something pans out.”

These associates of Don Lewis have some dirt on Carole Baskin

Chronister went on to detail some off the new leads Tampa police are investigating. They include Lewis’s family and business associates who have new information for the police.

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“They talked to the kids,” Chronister continued. “The kids had additional information that the investigators weren’t aware of. They talked to the office manager. She started to tell them things that they weren’t aware of, that they didn’t have in the file. I think they’re going through a lot of information right now. Fingers crossed, I hope we can finally solve this case.” 

Carole Baskin won’t face charges for this crime

Unfortunately, even proving the will a forgery won’t incriminate Baskin at this point. 23 years is past the statute of limitations for prosecuting her. 

The problem was the statute of limitations had already expired. The will had already been executed at that point but it certainly cast another shadow of suspicion by all means. That’s the only reason. There’s no recourse. A judge deemed it valid so the civil side of it with the execution of the ill, the disbursements of the funds is one thing. But then you have the criminal side of it. It’s unable to be prosecuted because the statute of limitations.

Sheriff Chad Chronister, Tampa Bay 10, 6/2/2020

Lewis’s daughter, Donna Pettis, also told TMZ she believed Baskin forged her father’s will ever since he disappeared in 1997. Chronister said he’d believed this for months. Baskin disputes the forgery charges.

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“They called in some experts to say that the will was a forgery and I had already told them that two months ago,” Chronister said. “They had two experts deem it 100% a forgery but we knew that. We knew that before because the girl who came forward and said, ‘Hey, I was forced to witness and say that I witnessed these signatures.’”