‘Tiger King’: Did Carole Baskin Kill Her Husband?

As Tiger King sweeps (and confuses) the nation, there is one big question that everyone has been grappling with. Did Carole Baskin kill her husband?

While the main focus of the documentary is the lives of these big cat owners and the feud between Joe Exotic and Baskin, fans can’t get over the death of Baskin’s second husband, Don Lewis. Baskin was never charged with the murder of Lewis, but his friends and family seem sure that she did it. So, what happened?

Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin | Netflix

What happened between Carole Baskin and Don Lewis?

Lewis and Baskin met in 1981 when Baskin was just 19. She was walking down the street after a fight with her first husband when Lewis saw her. He picked her up and the two drove around and talked. Years later, Lewis left his wife and four children to be with Baskin.

Together, they began purchasing baby bobcats and started Wildlife on Easy Street. The two ran the sanctuary together until Lewis vanished on Aug. 18, 1997.

What does Don Lewis’ family think happened?

Lewis and Baskin were going through a rough patch in their marriage and even considering divorce when Lewis disappeared.

Lewis’ children think that Baskin might have fed him to the tigers.

“It’s a perfect scenario to dispose of someone,” Donna Pettis, Lewis’ oldest child told People. “We were upset that the cops didn’t test the DNA on the meat grinder.”

Baskin thought that Lewis might have staged his disappearance and denies that her tigers would have eaten him.

“My tigers eat meat; they don’t eat people,” she said. “There would be bones and remains of my husband out there. I’m amazed that people would even think such a thing.”

Lewis’ van was found at an airport 40 miles from Baskin’s animal sanctuary days after he was reported missing. Later, it was discovered that two months prior to his disappearance, Lewis filed court documents for a domestic violence injunction against Baskin, claiming that she threatened to shoot him.

After the documentary came out, Baskin wrote a lengthy blog post refuting how Netflix presented her.

She started out by saying that she was initially under the impression that Netflix wanted to expose the mistreatment of big cats.

“There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the docuseries not only does not do any of that, but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers,” she wrote. “As part of that, it has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don 21 years ago. The series presents this without any regard for the truth or in most cases even giving me an opportunity before publication to rebut the absurd claims. They did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers.”

What do fans think?

Though the documentary has sparked many opinions, fans all seem united in thinking Baskin killed her husband.

“So we’re all in agreement that Carole Baskin killed her husband right?!!” one person tweeted.

“Three things are certain in life: Death, Taxes, and Carole Baskin definitely murdered her husband,” another person wrote.

“I’m just gonna say it: Carole Baskin is awful,” one person tweeted. “She’s a hypocrite and she is a terrible person.. she took everything from her ‘missing’ husband’s family! If Joe Exotic is in prison, she should be for ACTUALLY murdering her husband. I actually feel bad for Joe, not her. At all.”