Sunday, January 16, 2022

The star of “King of the Tigers” Carol Baskin will not talk about the missing spouse: detective

Tampa, Florida (AP) – A Florida detective investigating the disappearance of Carol Baskin’s second husband said Thursday that the Tiger King star has denied interview requests three times and that an investigation is ongoing.

Corporal Moises Garcia of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa held a press conference to provide an update on the investigation into the disappearance of Don Lewis. The case was reopened after the March 2020 Netflix documentary series The King of the Tigers: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, which became a huge hit during the pandemic.

Lewis was a Tampa millionaire who disappeared in 1997, leaving Baskin with dozens of big cats at their animal shelter. The series launched rumors about how Lewis disappeared, including speculation that he was buried in a septic tank at the sanctuary or resided in Costa Rica.

The detective said that he and his investigators conducted 50 interrogations and studied 200 theories.

When asked about the rumors about Costa Rica, Garcia declined to comment, but said federal agents had removed traces from the Central American country. In order to obtain a search warrant at an animal shelter, he said, a probable reason would be needed to test the rumors about the septic tank: either evidence indicating that something happened to the property, or a witness who could testify in this regard.

Aside from Baskin, former handyman at the Kenny Farr Wildlife Sanctuary also “didn’t talk to us,” the detective said.

It’s unusual for a spouse or relative to refuse to cooperate when a family member is missing and Baskin is of interest, although others do too, Garcia said.

Baskin recently sued Netflix and the production company to try to prevent the use of interviews and footage of her in the Tiger King sequel, which was released Wednesday. Netflix objected that Baskin and her husband agreed in writing that the material could be used in the future and that she was trying to block the company’s right to free speech with the First Amendment.

Garcia said he is confident that Lewis’ disappearance will be solved.

“If you ask a homicide detective if he can solve the case and he refuses, you should take his badge,” he said.

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