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Why A Ghost-Themed Reality Show Prompted A Search For Human Remains At 'Tiger King' Zoo (And What Authorities Actually Found)
Cadaver dogs brought onto the grounds of Joe Exotic's former zoo by the paranormal reality show "Ghost Adventures" apparently alerted the crew that there may be human remains in a defunct alligator pit.
Garvin County Sheriff Jim Mullett told Oxygen.com on Monday that Exotic’s former Greater Wynnewood Zoo — which became the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park under Jeff Lowe's ownership — was searched Friday for a human corpse. Mullett said that no human remains were found, though a dead creature was discovered in the zoo’s defunct alligator pit.
“The only thing that was found was the bones of a small animal with a tail,” Mullett told Oxygen.com. He said no further searches will be conducted.
The quest for possible human remains was prompted after cadaver dogs were brought onto the premises by a television crew for “Ghost Adventures.” The dogs alerted their trainer to a hit in the alligator pit, Mullett confirmed.
“Alligators are carnivores, so that makes sense,” big cat activist Carole Baskin, who was awarded the zoo last month as part of a court judgment in a trademark infringement case with Exotic, told Oxygen.com. “I think the whole thing was either a publicity stunt, or shows that their dogs need to go back to cadaver detection school.”
Lowe told local outlet KOCO 5 on Sunday that he still believes there are human remains on the property; he claims they just haven’t been found yet. Lowe has not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
Lowe hasn't yet transferred the zoo over to Baskin yet. He reportedly has 120 days following the judge's June 1 order to vacate the zoo.
“I expect that he [Lowe] will use every trick in the book to keep me from actually taking possession,” Baskin told Oxygen.com on Monday. Lowe reportedly plans to move the animals to a different location in the state, but Baskin noted that Lowe's tax issues with the state of Oklahoma could present some hurdles for him.
Exotic, the zoo's founder, is currently serving 22 years in federal prison for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin, a longtime rival who worked to limit big cat operations like his.
“Ghost Adventures” investigates locations that are believed to be haunted, and they were on the grounds of the now-infamous zoo last week for a week to shoot a two-part special to air on Travel Channel around Halloween, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. In addition to searching the grounds, they also took back some artifacts to Las Vegas. The show’s host, Zak Bagans, is planning a “Tiger King” exhibit at his Haunted Museum.
“Some of those artifacts are personal effects that used to belong to Joe Exotic and his husband, Travis, who shot himself at the zoo,” Bagans told the outlet, referencing Exotic’s former husband, Travis Maldonado. “Other items will be pieces involving documented paranormal events during our investigation.”