Family of Carole Baskin’s Former Husband, Don Lewis, Offers $100,000 Reward in ‘Tiger King’ Cold Case
The family of Carole Baskin's former husband, Don Lewis, is making a push to get answers in his cold case.
Earlier this year, millions tuned in to the Netflix phenomenon known as 'Tiger King' to watch the drama unfold between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. But one of the big side conversations that sparked from the show was the mysterious disappearance of Baskin's former husband, Don Lewis, who has now been missing for over 20 years.
In the wake of the show's popularity, billboards popped up around Tampa with the question, "Who killed Don Lewis?" Earlier today, Lewis' family announced that an anonymous donor has guaranteed a $100,000 reward for anyone who can come forward with answers that will help them find him.
Lewis' oldest daughter said they worked "for weeks" to raise money before receiving the donation.
An anonymous donor came forward guaranteeing the $100,000. We're hoping that with these funds someone will have the courage to come forward and provide the information to solve this case.
Jack Smith, a spokesperson for the Lewis family, believes there are people with information that are worried about coming forward.
We really need someone to come forward. There is a lot of people who have information who are afraid to come forward…they are worried that if they come forward they will be charged for a crime.
While the 'Tiger King' documentary is known for its wild antics and colorful cast of characters, Don Lewis' story could literally have its own spinoff. Lewis went missing a day before he was set to leave for a planned trip to Costa Rica back in 1997. His van was found at a Pasco County airport, but Lewis himself was never found. In 2002 he was officially declared dead.
Once 'Tiger King' dropped, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chard Chronister re-opened the investigation into Lewis' disappearance, saying that he didn't have suspects but believes Lewis "could have been murdered."
John Phillips, a lawyer representing the Lewis family, says he invites Carole Baskin to be a part of their own internal investigation.
Resolving this case is in everyone's best interest. I believe it's in Carole Baskin's best interest. I invite her to the table. I invite her to talk, and let us know what really happened.
Baskin has responded to the planned announcement by calling it a stunt
I believe it is a publicity stunt orchestrated by Jack Smith to bolster his YouTube views but do hope that all of the attention from Tiger King and the aftermath will result in us finding Don.
See the full story up now at FOX 13.