Tiger King‘s eccentric lead star Joe Exotic – legal name Joseph Maldonado-Passage – has reportedly reached out to the family of Carole Baskin’s ex-husband, Don Lewis, offering to help with information that may help lead to his whereabouts.
Don was married to Exotic’s arch-nemesis Carole Baskin when he disappeared on August 18, 1997, and was declared legally dead five years later. Throughout the docuseries, Exotic frequently makes the unsubstantiated claim that Baskin murdered Lewis and fed his body to her tigers or dumped him in a septic tank.
Lewis’ family have also voiced their suspicions about Carole Baskins in regards to their father’s mysterious disappearance.
Following the gargantuan success of Netflix series Tiger King, the cold case has again been thrust into the spotlight, with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announcing they would be reopening Lewis’ case, stating the show’s popularity could result in credible leads pointing to Lewis’ disappearance.
Meanwhile, Don Lewis’ three surviving daughters have confirmed that they would be filing a lawsuit against Baskin while announcing a $100,000 reward for information that could help locate their missing father.
“Amazingly, our little family tragedy has become your tragedy. Our search for closure and truth has become your mission also,” Lewis’ youngest daughter, Gale Rathbone said during a press conference.
“We all know by now that [Lewis] was not a perfect man. But do only the perfect among us deserve justice? … For 23 years, I’ve gone to bed every night knowing the only chance I have of seeing him again is in my dreams. For 23 years, I’ve woken every morning to the heartbreak of his strange disappearance.”
According to TMZ, John Phillips, the lawyer for Don’s family, Joe Exotic – who is currently serving 22 years in jail for a murder-for-hire plot against Baskins – reached out to the family following the press conference, who have reportedly expressed interest in working with the 57-year-old.
Baskin, who has denied the allegations, has since blasted Tiger King producers for promoting Joe’s so-called “lies.”
“[Tiger King] 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,” she wrote on the Big Cat Rescue website earlier this year.
“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 unsavoury lies are better for getting viewers.”