New Evidence Sheds Light on Don Lewis' Disappearance (EXCLUSIVE)

Sara Belcher - Author

Sep. 25 2020, Updated 11:49 a.m. ET

what happened carole baskin husband
Source: Discovery

Fans of Tiger King have heard the story of Don Lewis. Squished into the docuseries' third episode, the tale of Carole Baskin's late husband, who disappeared suddenly in 1997, was just a small piece of the wild tale. It wasn't long after the series aired that fans began coming up with their own theories as to what really happened to Don when he disappeared.

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A new investigation from Investigation Discovery had shed some light on Don's disappearance in the three-part series Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Up. Detective Jim Rathmann spoke exclusively with Distractify about what this investigation uncovered and what it could mean for the former cold case.  

jim rathmann lead investigator
Source: Discovery

Jim Rathmann, lead investigator.

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What happened to Don Lewis?

The Tiger King special only told a small portion of the tale that is Don's disappearance, but since the docuseries aired, his case has been looked at in a much more critical light, and viewers have been extremely interested in Carole's potential involvement in his disappearance.

At the time, Don's disappearance was concluded to be related to his business dealings and it was speculated that he had fled the country, though that theory has been scrutinized more recently.

"Don had an interesting life and an interesting lifestyle," Jim says of Don's disappearance. "When you look at what his business dealings were and where he was traveling to, it kind of made sense that he just vanished. But it's quite the opposite as you look at it this many years later."

But as Don's disappearance has been looked at in a new light recently, some interesting facts have been brought up that make it look more suspicious than it had before.

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don lewis
Source: Netflix

Take, for example, the fact that, a month after Don's disappearance, Carole transferred more than $100,000 worth of properties to the name of their handyman, Kenny Farr, for the small price of $9,080.

"In all fairness, Carole very well could have a reason for why this happened," Jim says. "But 23 years later, looking at this, it makes you wonder — was this a method of payment? Could this be a murder for hire? Could this be a payment to dispose of Don Lewis?"

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Did Carole Baskin kill Don Lewis?

While it's not up to us, or even Jim, to fully conclude whether or not Carole played a hand in Don's disappearance, the new evidence in the documentary is bound to raise some eyebrows.

"When you see a property transaction that's taking place like that... and then you add that there was a forgery, it makes you wonder was this premeditated?" Jim says. 

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In April, Don's disappearance was reopened by the Florida sheriff's department, and Jim says all of the information retrieved during the Discovery investigation was handed over to the authorities.

"[She] didn't really care for a lot of people," Jim says, speaking of an interview he had with one of Carole's ex-boyfriends. "In fact, I believe he even stated that she cared more for the animals than she did for the people around her."

This is only a small portion of the new evidence uncovered in the investigation into Don's death — and there are even more discoveries that will make viewers reconsider what they heard in Tiger King.

Parts one and two of Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Up will premiere on Discovery on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. EST.

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