‘Tiger King’: Could New Evidence in Carole Baskin’s Missing Husband Case Be Enough for Her Arrest?
Just when you think there’s nothing left to discuss in the world of Netflix’s Tiger King, more details emerge. This week new evidence surfaced in the case of Carole Baskin’s missing husband, Don Lewis. Is it enough to solve the crime or lead to Baskin’s arrest? Here’s what we know.
Carole Baskin is cashing in on the coronavirus pandemic
CDC guidelines currently recommend everyone wear a mask or face covering when leaving the house. It was only a matter of time before someone crashed in on Tiger King‘s fame.
Some have created masks with the bottom half of Tiger King star’s faces. The show — which focused on a longtime rivalry between Joseph Maldonado Passage (aka Joe Exotic) and Baskin — has inspired Baskin to sell masks of her own.
Baskin’s sanctuary currently is closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Don Lewis’s case remains unsolved, Baskin maintains innocence
As shown in Tiger King, Baskin’s second husband, Don Lewis, went missing in 1997. He was declared dead five years later though his body has never been found.
Baskin is not a person of interest in the case. She maintains that Lewis planned to travel to Costa Rica (where he went regularly), suggesting he willingly left the country.
“We were not heading for divorce,” she previously told Oxygen.com. “Don was suffering mentally and I was desperately trying to get him help.”
Tiger King fans speculated whether she’s as innocent as she proclaims. Theories surrounding Baskin’s meat grinder and big cats still circulate. The rescue owner and her third husband, Howard Baskin, have maintained her innocence. In April, Baskin uploaded multiple YouTube videos defending her side.
Another theory pointed to Baskin possibly enlisting her brother. He worked on the police force at that time. Some say he may have helped kill, and/or dispose of Lewis’s body. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister spoke with Fox Nation‘s Nancy Grace about the matter saying those claims are “false.”
He added that Baskin’s brother was on another call that night and couldn’t have been wherever Lewis was.
“Any type of theory of cover-up is dispelled when you can track back and see that his actions that night were accounted for,” Chronister said.
Baskin said her car broke down at 3 a.m. on her way to the grocery store the night of Lewis’s disappearance. She called her brother for help.
“[Baskin’s brother] had asked for one of his other friends, another deputy to please take her home,” Chronister told Grace. “Another deputy sheriff did pick her up from the Albertson’s and give her a ride back to the animal sanctuary.”
New evidence suggests Lewis’s will was forged
Despite Baskin repeatedly trying to clear her name, new evidence recently surfaced about Lewis’s will and its validity. The document contains notary Sandra Wittkopp’s signature — but there’s a problem with that.
“I don’t remember a will at all,” Wittkopp told the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. “I was the housekeeper.”
Some states require notaries to keep journals to keep up with “best practices” in recordkeeping. Florida Law (where the will originated) does not.
Along with that, handwriting experts reviewed the will and concluded that “Lewis’s own signatures on both his will and his power of attorney were traced from his 1991 marriage record,” the Center stated.
“They’re all virtually identical,” handwriting expert, Thomas Vastrick of Florida said. “They’re all from a model signature.”
Even if this is true, The Center said the statute of limitations has run out. That means no one can be prosecuted for the crime now. Still, if prosecutors pursue Baskin, the forgery evidence may come into play.
Tampa Bay Times also added fuel to the Baskin fire. They reported that, “Susan Aronoff Bradshaw said that after Lewis disappeared, Carole Baskin asked her to testify that she was there for the will signing when she was not.”
Regardless of what becomes of those signatures or Baskin, Chronister believes there are multiple people who could’ve benefited from Lewis’s death. He added that, despite reported possible sightings of Lewis in Costa Rica, “This individual was murdered and this individual never left the country,” he said.
“I think it was staged and meant to appear like someone had just pulled up, parked, and I think they wanted us to believe that he would never [have] intended on returning and that he had left.”
It sounds like there’s a lot more to uncover with this one. We’ll keep you posted.