‘Tiger King’: Sheriff Says More Than One Person Likely Killed Don Lewis, Immunity Is ‘On the Table’ for Confessions
The 1997 disappearance of millionaire, Jack Donald Lewis, is in the news again, thanks to Netflix’s hit docuseries, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. Hillsborough County Sheriff, Chad Chronister, is asking for new leads. In a new investigative special, Chronister gives his thoughts on the case. Here’s the scoop.
TMZ to air ‘Tiger King — What Really Went Down?’
The Tiger King hysteria continues. TMZ teamed up with Fox for a closer look at the seven-part docuseries — specifically the disappearance of former Big Cat Rescue CEO, Don Lewis.
Lewis’s case has gotten a lot of press since mentioned in Tiger King. His former wife, Carole Baskin, has been at the center of conspiracy theories surrounding his disappearance. Lewis’s van was found at a nearby airport with no signs of struggle. Baskin as the last person to see Lewis alive.
Baskin maintains her innocence. She declared him legally dead in 2002 and married to her third husband, Howard Baskin.
Tiger King — What Really Went Down? also aims to explore lingering questions about Joseph Maldonado-Passage’s guilt. He’s serving a 22-year prison sentence on multiple counts of animal abuse and an alleged murder-for-hire plot against Baskin.
The one-hour special airs Mon., April 13 at 9 p.m. on Fox. One of the highlights includes Sheriff Chronister’s thought’s on Lewis’s case.
Sheriff asking for leads, offers immunity
In a surprise Tiger King twist, Chronister thinks Lewis’s case is a homicide and that more than one person committed the crime. Chronister told TMZ he believes at least two people were involved.
“I’m extremely suspicious, but not just of her — of this whole circle here,” he said. “Extremely suspicious. Like I said, I don’t want to allude to the fact or insinuate, that she’s our person of interest and this is who we’re focusing on. I’m not comfortable saying that yet.”
He continued: “There’s normally not one person that commits a homicide. It’s always a couple of people. And this had to be extremely planned out, this had to be well thought out”
Chronister thinks someone was paid to take part and hopes that person (or persons) will come forward.
“I’m hoping that person wants to come and get this off their chest and help law enforcement do the right thing. And you start talking about different things with immunity, you know, deals are cut. And listen, every deal’s on the table right now. Help us solve this case,” he said.
Chronister previously tweeted his plea for new information, saying the leads were pouring in but nothing too significant as of yet.
“I’m going to be honest with you: I remain optimistic. Somebody’s going to watch this show and it’s going to prompt them to call us,” he said.
Chronister touched on theories about Baskin’s possible involvement
Theories about Baskin’s involvement in Lewis’s disappearance include his body under a Big Cat Rescue septic tank and that she put his body in a meat grinder and fed him to the big cats.
“The meat grinder shown in the video was enormous. Our meat grinder was one of those little tabletop, hand crank things like you’d have in your kitchen at home,” Baskin wrote in her blog post in which she refuted the docuseries.
Chronister previously touched on those theories saying the septic tank wasn’t present at the time of Lewis’s disappearance, and that the meat grinders were moved.
“I’m not saying they could’ve taken it somewhere else. There was no ability to test them because they weren’t on the property,” he said.
“Once I saw how popular this Netflix documentary series has become, I’m like, ‘Listen, we need to take advantage of this,'” he later told PEOPLE.
“I just thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be phenomenal if we could glimmer some type of evidence, an interview, anything that would help us solve this disappearance case?'”
All of that said, Chronister made it clear that Baskin is not a suspect right now and that they don’t “have any evidence to even call her a person of interest.”
Tiger King — What Really Went Down airs Mon., April 13 at 9 p.m. on Fox.