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Hillsborough sheriff asks for new leads for missing man featured in Netflix's 'Tiger King'

Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 08:17:04-04

TAMPA ,Fla. —Tiger King is the number one streaming program on Netflix.

And while most of the seven-part series focuses on the imprisoned Oklahoma zookeeper known as Joe Exotic, the owner of Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin, is also prominently featured.

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Included are accusations that she killed her former husband Jack "Don" Lewis.

Lewis went missing in 1997 and has never been found.

On Monday, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister tweeted that since Tiger King is "all the rage," he thought it was a good time to ask for new leads on the cold case.

Baskin and her current husband Howard say Tiger King’s producers duped them into thinking the series would be about stopping the abuse of big cats.

But most of the series centered on Joe Exotic and his rivalry with Baskin.

“As far as I can tell, their only goal was to make something as inflammatory and salacious as possible so that Netflix would pay them millions for it," Howard Baskin said in a video released on Big Cat Rescue's Facebook page.

In the series, Lewis’ van was found at a private airport in Pasco County. Deputies searched Big Cat Rescue and even went to Costa Rica looking for leads.

“Anyone who spends an hour with Carole would come away knowing that there was no way that she had any involvement in Don’s disappearance, and that the vicious rumors that were spread by his family are absolute nonsense stuff about meat grinders and septic tanks," said Howard Baskin.

The Sheriff’s Office says they haven’t gotten any new tips since Tiger King became a hit.

Big Cat Rescue says Baskin isn’t doing any interviews at this time, but they do hope someone will come forward with information on what happened to Lewis.

They’ve also set up a webpage detailing what they say are lies told in the Netflix documentary series.