Family Of Carole Baskin’s Vanished Husband Offers $100K For Information In His Disappearance

Don Lewis' 1997 disappearance formed the crux of a notable episode of "Tiger King" that dug into Carole Baskin's past. 

Jack Lewis Carole Baskin

The family of Carole Baskin's missing millionaire husband Don Lewis wants answers into his disappearance decades ago — and they're offering a hefty reward for information.

Jack Donald Lewis — who went by Don Lewis — vanished without a trace back on Aug. 18, 1997, as recounted in an episode of Netflix's "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness."

Lewis's daughters and a new legal team staged a press conference on Monday, announcing they would offer $100,000 for information in his case.

“Resolving this case is in everyone’s best interest,” attorney John Phillips said at the Riverhills Church of God in Tampa, also saying he'd asked Baskin to speak to them about Lewis' disappearance.

Phillips' law firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We really need someone to come forward in the case with information,” Lewis family spokesperson Jack Smith said at the press conference. And there’s a lot of people out there that have information but they’re scared to come forward. There’s people with animals — exotic animals — that are scared if they come forward, they’re gonna lose their animals somehow.”

Though the docuseries mainly focused on the antics and downfall of Oklahoma zookeeper Joe Exotic, it dedicated an episode to exploring the question of what happened to Lewis through interviews with his family, associates, and Baskin — his former wife and now CEO of the nonprofit animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue. 

Although the episode suggested that Baskin and Lewis' relationship was frayed at the time of his disappearance, she has denied that characterization.

"Don was suffering mentally and I was desperately trying to get him help," Baskin previously told Oxygen.com.

Lewis' case is still officially characterized as a missing person's investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, but Sheriff Chad Chronister has publicly stated his personal belief that Lewis might have been murdered.

On Friday, Lewis' family filed a bill of discovery to obtain information from Baskin in the case, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The case apparently has not yet been assigned, according to a review of online records.

Exotic has frequently suggested that Baskin killed her former husband — even making a country music video featuring a Baskin lookalike feeding mock human remains to tigers. Baskin has vehemently denied those allegations and Exotic was later convicted of attempting to hire someone to kill Baskin.

Baskin claimed Monday's press conference was a "publicity stunt" but stated she hoped the effort would provide answers.

“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," Baskin told WFLA in a statement.

She did not respond to Oxygen.com's request for comment.

Related Stories

Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content. 

You May Also Like...
Recommended by Zergnet