Why Carole Baskin killed her husband


Photo courtesy of JoeExoticTV

Carole Baskin look-alike feeding Don Lewis to a lion in Joe Exotic’s music video “Here Kitty Kitty.”

*Disclaimer: All theories discussed are not facts. This is my opinion. Please do not sue me for slander!*

Since the debut of the popular Netflix documentary, Tiger King, fans are left to grapple with the burning question of if Carole Baskin killed her ex-husband Don Lewis. Well, buckle up all you cool cats and kittens for the ride of why people believe Carole Baskin killed her husband.

On August 19th, 1997, multimillionaire Jack Don Lewis was reported missing by his wife at the time, Carole Baskin, the co-founder and current CEO of Big Cats Rescue. The case remains open by investigators, as no one has been arrested or charged with his disappearance.

On August 20th, authorities found Lewis’s white 1989 Dodge Ram Van at the Pilot Country Airport in Springhill, Florida. Inside the van were the keys and Lewis’s briefcase. The only prints found were Dale Lively’s, a mechanic who worked on the vehicle days before the disappearance. According to Lewis’ handyman, Kenny Farr, the police did not look inside the van at the airport, and instead, let it be taken back to the sanctuary. They waited days before searching inside, which could have allowed Baskin the opportunity to remove any crucial evidence or wipe fingerprints. Investigators concluded that Lewis did not drive the van to the airport.

A theory detectives investigated was Lewis vanishing to Costa Rica. Baskin claimed that he told her he was leaving to Costa Rica early in the morning. Lewis owned several private planes and was known to fly them, despite losing his private pilot license. However, it was impossible to operate the aircrafts he owned over that long of a distance without making several fuel stops. Detectives spent five days in Costa Rica trying to determine if there was a link to Lewis and Costa Rica but found none.

The investigation team further speculated that Lewis crashed his plane in an attempt to vanish. But if one wanted to disappear truly, why would they leave a clue as obvious as a van behind?

John Marsicano, the lead homicide detective on the case, spoke about his beliefs on the investigation in the documentary.

“I don’t believe that Jack Don Lewis flew to Costa Rica. There’s nothing at all to indicate that Don left his van there, got in a plane and crashed it somewhere. There was no record of any take-off of an airplane. There was no flight filed. Nothing,” Marsicano said.

Baskin mentioned in the documentary Lewis had been in multiple aircraft accidents. She insinuated that a severe crash potentially caused him to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia.

In an interview with Hard Copy, she suggested that his disappearance could be related to his alleged Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“Maybe he doesn’t know where he is. Maybe he doesn’t know where to call,” Baskin said.

Lewis’s attorney and long time friend, Joseph R. Fritz, countered Baskin’s statement in Tiger King.

“He [Lewis] knew exactly what was going on. Who, what, where, when, why, he knew all of that,” Fritz stated.

Two months before his sudden disappearance, Lewis filled a court document seeking protection against Baskin. In this document, he asserted, “This is the second time Carole has gotten angry enough to threaten to kill me.”

According to his daughter Gale Rathbone, Lewis was resistant to handle matters with the police.

“For him to go down there and present it before a judge was major, in my eyes. That is not something he would do unless he was at his wit’s end with how to protect himself,” Rathbone stated on the Netflix documentary.

Lewis confided in many of his desires to divorce Baskin and told Baskin of his wishes multiple times.

“If Don Lewis had gotten a divorce with Carole, the way he worked, she would’ve been left with nothing,” Farr said. “She would’ve lost the cats. She would have everything down to the house and a car.”

Many speculate that Baskin murdered Lewis to obtain his money and move their business in the direction she desired. After Lewis’s disappearance, Baskin and her father, Vernan, asked Farr to help them retrieve items from Anne Queen’s office. Queen was Lewis’s executive assistant, who also held the power of attorney. According to Queen, there were two wills and two power of attorney documents in her office. Following the break-in, both papers were missing. Baskin proceeded to create new documents with her attorney that granted her power of attorney to control Lewis’s estate. Additionally, she took properties out of Lewis and his daughter’s names and put them in her name, leaving his daughters with approximately 10 percent of his estate.

In the new power of attorney documents, the first line read: “Upon my death or disappearance.” In the documentary, Fritz and many others were puzzled by its choice of words.

“In my 37 years, I have never seen ‘or disappearance.’ In that respect, this is terribly unusual. Everybody in the world anticipates their death, but who anticipates their disappearance?” Fritz commented.

Popular theories perpetuated by Joe Exotic included Baskin allegedly killing Lewis and feeding him to the Tigers they owned, as well as dumping his body in a septic tank beneath a building. Lewis’s daughters and ex-wife demanded that detectives test the meat grinder in Baskins’s home for DNA of Lewis. The investigators denied the request, leaving theorists to embrace the claims further.

Psychologist and body language analyst, Bruce Durham, recently analyzed Baskin’s body language during her interviews in Tiger King. Through his extensive investigation, he found that Baskin presses her lips together when asked about the rumors surrounding Lewis. Durham alleged that this is a sign of one hiding something that they are thinking about, but don’t want to say.

Durham also observed when Baskin was asked why she never held a memorial service for her late husband\; she did not look down and search for memories. According to him, people tend to look down when searching for memories or mulling over emotional moments in their lives.

“I’m looking for her to look down, and she looks straight ahead,” Durham stated in the video, assessing her body language.

Baskin says that when she received the letter declaring Lewis dead, she blacked out.

“I remember looking out the window, and then the next time I remembered anything, it was pitch blackout. It was like I had completely zoned out,” Baskin professed on Tiger King.

Durham found it specious that Baskin didn’t seem to display much emotion on what would probably be an emotional memory and instead nervously laughed about the situation.

Whether one believes Carole Baskin fed her husband to the tigers or not, there is no denying that she had more involvement in his disappearance than she lets on. Maybe this cool cat and kitten should start doing some admittin’.