Between dating shows, cooking shows and movies, Tiger King: murder, madness and chaos surely stands out in Netflix’s large catalog with original content. The crime documentary follows the story of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, known as Joe Exotic, a big cat breeder. Although most of the series focuses on his career with lions, tigers, and bears, and the murder-to-rent program that put him behind bars, there is much of the story that could have been its own documentary.
Joe Exotic did not hide his negative feelings towards Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL. In addition to the rivals in the big cat game, he believed Baskin had killed her husband Jack Donald Lewis, who went from Don Lewis. She has maintained her innocence for over 20 years, and with no evidence to link the alleged murder, the cold case remains open.
Carole Baskin's relationship with Don Lewis
According to the documentary, Baskin grew up poor and lived mainly in mobile homes. She married an abusive man who fathered her daughter Jamie Murdock. Baskin met Lewis, a multimillionaire, in 1981 when she was 20 years old and he was 42 years old. Both Baskin and Lewis were married to other people at the time, and he also had children. They met when Lewis drove down the street and he saw Baskin crying on the side of the road after arguing with her husband. After some conviction, she got into his car because he needed someone to talk to. They spent the night together.
When Baskin was 24, she left her husband to be with Lewis. The two first entered the world of big cats in 1992 when they bought a bobcat. From then on, their number of animals grew with more bobcats and lynxes and they opened the wildlife reserve on Easy Street, which was eventually to become Big Cat Rescue. The couple did not begin to agree and argue about the direction of their business – Baskin wanted to collect and love the animals, while Lewis saw this as a breeding and monetary opportunity.
It was said that Lewis had a roaming eye and could not settle with just one woman. There were rumors that he had a mistress in Costa Rica. Baskin wasn't seen in a big light either, because many believed she was hungry for his money. There was also talk of divorce towards the end, and it was believed that he was preparing his fortune so he wouldn't lose everything if they parted.
in the Tiger KingWe learn that Lewis gave his executive assistant, Anne McQueen, a paper envelope saying he should give it to the police if anything happened to him. It contained a copy of the injunction Lewis had filed against Baskin for threatening to kill him a second time. The June 1997 injunction found that Baskin had his own weapon and had hidden his weapon. He was not granted protection because the threats were covered by the first change. Baskin said she never threatened him.
Lewis & # 39; Disappear
Lewis was last seen on August 18, 1997. According to Baskin, the last thing he said to her was that he would leave "early, early, early" the next day to transport cars to Costa Rica. He was reported missing on August 19, 1997, and three or four days later his abandoned van with the keys and briefcase was found at the airport. Not exactly the trail you want to leave if you intentionally try to get away, right?
Baskin, however, has her own suspicions – one of which is that Lewis may have staged his own disappearance, according to a 1998 article People.
There is no evidence that Lewis flew to Costa Rica. Baskin had spoken to the press about a serious crash that resulted in him never being the same and having memory problems. But other people near Lewis said that was not true. It is very clear that some thought it would create the conditions for dementia, so you might think that it just disappeared.
After the Netflix documentaries came out, Baskin went to Big Cat Rescue to refute things in Tiger King. She explained that someone mentioned Alzheimer's to her and it was not a common word at the time. She took Lewis to her psychiatrist, who referred her to another doctor in the same building. This doctor diagnosed Lewis with bipolar disorder and gave him a prescription. Baskin said his behavior had gotten stranger and he had disappeared before they could go to a specialist appointment.
The meat grinder theory
There are several theories about Baskin's involvement in her husband's disappearance. One of them is that there was a septic tank under a building in the sanctuary to which he was brought. Another is that she killed her husband, ground his body parts in a meat grinder on site and fed them to the big cats.
"It's a perfect scenario to dispose of someone," said Donna Pettis, Lewis' oldest of four children People. "We were upset that the bulls didn't test DNA on the meat grinder."
Baskin told People that their tigers eat meat, not humans.
Joe Exotic, who firmly believes Baskin was involved in her husband's disappearance, is also an aspiring country star who has made over a dozen music videos. He played a song called "Here Kitty Kitty" about Baskin, who allegedly killed her husband and fed him to big cats. A Baskin look can be seen in the music videos that feed Lewis' body parts.
It is worth noting that Baskin's brother was a member of the sheriff's office. Baskin said that she "never really knew" her brother because of her six-year age difference. The day Lewis was missing, Baskin left Wildlife on Easy Street to collect milk for the cats at 3 a.m. Her car broke down and she met her brother and another deputy. This deputy drove Baskin back to her house. The last time she said she saw her husband was a few hours later.
In an article from 2005 in Tampa Bay TimesLynda Sanchez, Lewis & # 39; daughter, said her father had never gone 24 hours without a call, even when he was on a business trip.
"Each of us … has volunteered to do a lie detector test," said Sanchez. "Carole is the only one who doesn't take any."
Now is the time to talk about money because we know Lewis had a lot of it and it could easily be a motive for his disappearance. There were two wills and two powers. McQueen, Lewis’s executive assistant, was the executor of both the will and the power of attorney for Lewis and Baskin. However, with the new documents that Baskin submitted, the power of attorney was transferred to her so that she had the power of attorney.
What caused people to raise their eyebrows was a sentence above in Lewis & # 39; document: "This permanent family power of attorney must not be affected by a disability or disappearance."
Lewis & # 39; attorney said that in his 37-year practice, he had never seen the power of attorney document specify "or enforced disappearance", which made that phrase "terribly unusual."
Since Lewis had disappeared and had not died technically, he could only be declared legally deceased five years after his disappearance. Baskin had him pronounced dead five years and one day after his disappearance. The story that accompanies the money and the fortune gets messy because there are two sides: the one that tells Lewis & # 39; ex-wife and children, and the one that Baskin tells.
According to his ex-wife and children, Baskin took assets from their names and registered them in their names. Baskin said Lewis outlawed his children after trying to take him to court because they didn't think their mother had found a fair solution to the divorce. Baskin said Lewis asked to leave her trust, but Baskin decided against it because she thought he would one day feel different.
Just to make things clear, there is no evidence that Baskin was involved in Don Lewis' disappearance. The case is still open. We're just saying that we didn't think the big cats saga could get so wild.