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Friday, May 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Florida sheriff renews search for missing millionaire featured in ‘Tiger King’

Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin, posing near a tiger, is a prominent figure in the Netflix show “Tiger King,” about Joe Exotic. The ex-husband of Baskin, Jack “Don” Lewis, disappeared years ago, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is reopening the cold case amid the populartiy of the streaming service series. (Big Cat Rescue)
Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin, posing near a tiger, is a prominent figure in the Netflix show “Tiger King,” about Joe Exotic. The ex-husband of Baskin, Jack “Don” Lewis, disappeared years ago, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is reopening the cold case amid the populartiy of the streaming service series. (Big Cat Rescue)
By Kate Feldman New York Daily News

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida hopes the wild success of Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary will help out with a cold case.

Sheriff Chad Chronister reached out publicly Monday for any new information on the disappearance of Jack “Don” Lewis, the ex-husband of Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin, and a prominent figure in the streaming service series about Joe Exotic.

“I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads” after the documentary made the case “all the rage,” Chronister tweeted Monday.

Lewis, 81, was last seen in August 1997 and rumors have spiraled, fueled by Joe Exotic, that his then-wife, Baskin, killed him and fed him to the big cats on her Florida property.

In a blog post after “Tiger King” was released, Baskin denied the allegations.

“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.

“When he disappeared, I did everything I could to assist the police. I encouraged them to check out the rumors from Costa Rica, and separately I hired a private investigator.”

She also called speculation that she had put his body through the Big Cat Rescue meat grinder “the most ludicrous of all the lies” and claimed that Lewis was suffering from Alzheimer’s before his disappearance.

“Tiger King” has been one of the most popular shows on Netflix, particularly with people quarantined at home, since it was released earlier this month.

The seven-episode true-crime series tracks the messy web of so-called “big cat people,” including Baskin and Joe Exotic, who was found guilty in April 2019 of 19 federal counts, including twice hiring hitmen to have Baskin killed. Neither attempt was successful.

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