‘Tiger King’: Sheriff Says Carole Baskin’s Brother Wasn’t Involved in a Cover-Up

Netflix’s hit docuseries, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, might be centered around Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, and his feud with Carole Baskin. But it left viewers wondering if Baskin’s and her brother had anything to do with the death of her second husband, Don Lewis. Well, according to the Hillsborough County sheriff,  Baskin’s brother isn’t a suspect.

Carole Baskin in Tiger King
Carole Baskin | Netflix

What happened to ‘Tiger King’ star Carole Baskin’s husband, Don Lewis?

Tiger King tells the story of Maldonado-Passage and Baskin’s love affair with big cats and unveils the dirty games the rivals played to discredit each other. Maldonado-Passage went as far as to hire two hitmen to kill Baskin but was caught, convicted, and sentenced to prison for the crime. 

However, in his rants about Baskin, Maldonado-Passage alleges that she had something to do with her husband’s disappearance. In the docuseries, he suggests she may have even fed him to her tigers. Baskin vehemently denies the allegations but does mention a few key facts about the night Lewis went missing. 

In Tiger King, Baskin says that the night Lewis disappeared, she took a 3:00 a.m. trip to the store to get food for her animals. After running into car trouble, she says she asked her brother, who worked for the sheriff’s department at the time, to pick her up and take her home. Baskin insists that night was the last time she saw her husband. 

Lewis never turned up, and his body was never found. Five years after his disappearance, he was declared legally dead, and Baskin took over his estate and fortune. 

Many ‘Tiger King’ fans think Baskin’s brother covered up a murder

After watching Tiger King, many viewers wondered if Baskin’s brother helped her cover-up what actually happened the night Lewis disappeared. “Carole’s brother worked for the Sheriff’s Office and influenced the investigation Into her husband’s death!,” one Twitter user wrote

Another viewer pointed out how convenient Baskin’s alibi was. “The NIGHT her husband goes missing, Carole Fkn Baskin had an alibi: her Depuy Sheriff-brother, who works for the Dept investigating her husband’s disappearance,” the Twitter user expressed. “He said he coincidentally saw Carole on the side of the road because her car ran out of gas so he gave her a ride.”

After all the attention the series received, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department reopened Lewis’s case and is now actively reinvestigating his disappearance. 

The Hillsborough County Sheriff says Baskin’s brother wasn’t involved in a cover-up

In an interview with Hillsborough sheriff Chad Chronister, Fox Nation host Nancy Grace directly questioned whether or not Baskin’s brother was involved with a cover-up. “What do you say to claims that he helped her cover up a murder and that he helped her that night?” she asked. 

Chronister told Grace that he believes “those claims are false,” because Baskin’s brother was assigned to a call that night. “He had actually had someone under arrest,” Chronister said. “Someone was in his car. He went to booking during that time. Any type of theory of cover-up is dispelled when you can trackback and see that his actions that night were accounted for.”

He also revealed that Baskin’s brother asked another fellow officer to take his sister home, which corroborates his account. However, the sheriff still believes Lewis was murdered by more than one person. 

 “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.”

But Chronister isn’t calling out Baskin as a suspect. “No doubt in my mind, I’m thoroughly convinced that he was killed,” Chronister added. “There are other people who benefited by [Lewis’] death… That’s why it would be irresponsible to call Carol Baskin’s even a person of interest.”