Tiger King’s Carole Baskin won’t speak to police over husband’s disappearance

A detective in Florida investigating the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s second husband said on Thursday the Tiger King star has three times refused requests for interviews, and that the investigation was continuing.

Cpl Moises Garcia of the Hillsborough county sheriff’s office in Tampa held a news conference to provide an update on the investigation into Don Lewis’s disappearance.

The case was reopened after the March 2020 release of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, a Netflix documentary series which became a huge hit during the pandemic.

Lewis was a Tampa millionaire who vanished in 1997, leaving Baskin with dozens of big cats at their animal sanctuary.

The Netflix series launched rumors about how Lewis disappeared, including conjecture that he was buried in a septic tank on the sanctuary’s property or living in Costa Rica.

The detective said he and his investigators had conducted 50 interviews and followed up on 200 leads.

Asked about the Costa Rica rumor, Garcia refused to comment but said federal agents had run down leads in the Central American country.

Getting a search warrant for the animal sanctuary to follow up on the septic tank rumor would require probable cause, either evidence showing something happened on the property or a witness who could testify to that effect, he said.

Besides Baskin, a former handyman at the sanctuary, Kenny Farr, also “didn’t interview with us”, the detective said.

It’s unusual for a spouse or relative to refuse to cooperate when a family member goes missing and Baskin is a person of interest, though others are too, Garcia said.

Baskin recently sued Netflix and a production company to try to prevent the use of interviews and footage involving her in the Tiger King sequel, which was released on Wednesday.

Netflix countered that Baskin and her husband agreed in writing that the material could be used in the future and that she is trying to block the company’s first amendment right to free speech.

Garcia said he is confident Lewis’ disappearance will be solved.

“If you ask a homicide detective if he can solve a case, and he says no, you should take away his badge,” he said.

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