Justice for Don! Tiger King’s Jeff Lowe told Us Weekly exclusively that it’s “about damn time” police reopen the investigation into John “Don” Lewis’ disappearance following the success of Netflix’s documentary.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness explores the world of exotic animal owners, specifically zoo owner Joe Exotic (real name: Joe Maldonado-Passage) and his nemesis, animal rights activist Carole Baskin. It also highlights the mysterious disappearance of Baskin’s second husband, Lewis, who Exotic believed was killed by Baskin in 1997.
“Joe had a whole file cabinet in the office full of all the paperwork proving it way more than the documentary showed,” Lowe told Us Weekly exclusively on Monday, March 30. “He has handwriting analysis, Carole’s diary, just tons of stuff that pointed to her guilt.”
Baskin has denied killing her husband and posted a statement on her website after the documentary’s release insisting she did “everything” she could to assist police in finding him.
“Don was not easy to live with and like most couples, we had our moments. But I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance,” she wrote on Sunday, March 29.
Lowe — who currently owns and operates the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, while his business partner, Exotic, serves a 22-year prison sentence for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin — wants justice for Lewis.
“Joe had a spy inside Carole’s office for a while. She was sending him all kinds of personal information, but Carole finally found out and fired the girl,” Lowe claimed to Us.
He added: “Carole is guilty, in my opinion. Don was already trying to plan his exit and was trying to find a way to keep his money if he was going to divorce her.”
Earlier on Monday, Florida sheriff Chad Chronister asked for fans to help find Lewis by bringing forward any possible new leads now that Tiger King has sparked an interest in his life and possible death.
“Since @netflix and #Covid19 #Quarantine has made #TigerKing all the rage, I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads,” Chronister wrote via Twitter on Monday. “#CaroleBaskin #DonLewis #Netflix #Tiger #BigCatRescue #JoeExotic #TigerKingNetflix #HCSO.”
The Hillsborough County sheriff posted a missing persons flyer for Lewis, who was last seen in August 1997, alongside his Twitter plea that revealed the case had gone cold.
The post also revealed that the millionaire would be 81 now and shared an image of him working a big cat in the past.
Since @netflix and #Covid19 #Quarantine has made #TigerKing all the rage, I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads. #CaroleBaskin #DonLewis #Netflix #Tiger #BigCatRescue #JoeExotic #TigerKingNetflix #HCSO pic.twitter.com/LHoJcBZVOI
— Chad Chronister (@ChadChronister) March 30, 2020
Despite fans’ theories that Baskin could’ve had a hand in her ex’s disappearance, the Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary owner maintained her innocence in a blog post published on Sunday.
Baskin claimed that the documentary “had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers.”
She wrote that a big part of the falsity of the series is the storyline surrounding her ex.
“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 in 1997,” Baskin explained. “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.”
Tiger King is currently streaming on Netflix.
With reporting by Marjorie Hernandez