After almost three years since the hit show “Tiger King” debuted during the start of Covid lockdowns, one of the controversial lead stars, Carole Baskin, has now claimed to have found out that her husband isn’t actually dead after all.
Baskin, owner of Big Cats Rescue with an associated blog by the same name, was under fire during the show for her ex-husband, Don Lewis, having allegedly been missing for years without a trace, leading to speculation that she had killed him. Now, the “Tiger King” star is claiming that a special agent in charge with the FBI at Homeland Security has reported finding Lewis in Costa Rica some years ago, in a revelation that’s just now going viral.
In the first season of the hit Netflix docu-series, Baskin revealed that her ex-husband had mysteriously disappeared in 1997. At the time of his disappearance, the two were married, and she claimed that she never heard from him again, according to CBS News.
During a November 2021 interview with ITV’s “This Morning” talk show, Baskin, 61, revealed that her ex, who was declared legally dead in 2002 after disappearing a few years before, is actually alive and well.
However, the New York Post reports that Baskin told the outlet she was unaware of the alleged revelation until the sequel series was broadcast in November 2021.
“I was not aware of it until ‘TK2’ aired,” Baskin told The Post via email, pointing to her Big Cats Rescue blog.
The animal rights activist alleged in the resurfaced ITV footage that the Department of Homeland Security has been in touch with her former spouse.
“One of the really exciting things that came out of ‘Tiger King 2’ is that they produced a letter from Homeland Security and it says that a special agent in charge with the FBI at Homeland Security reached out to the sheriff’s detective George [Jorge] Fernandez, which means this had to have happened after 2002 because Homeland Security wasn’t even around until 2002,” Baskin told the outlet at the time.
“They said my husband, Don Lewis, is alive and well in Costa Rica,” she revealed. “And yet all of this drama has been made about me having something to do with his disappearance when Homeland Security has known where he is.”
When Lewis disappeared in 1997, he was 59 years old – and if he were still alive today, he would be 84 years old.
No public statements have been made by Lewis disputing the rumors.
“I don’t know how it is that Homeland Security says he’s alive and well in Costa Rica but I’m glad to hear it,” Baskin told ITV. ‘I didn’t think he was capable of supporting himself. He took about a million dollars down to Costa Rica, I had agreed to let him do that so he could prove to himself that he could make a living.”
In November 2021, Baskin and her current husband Howard penned a blog on her Big Cats Rescue website, questioning why DHS released his alleged whereabouts to Netflix for season 2, which she did not participate in.
‘And yet all of this drama has been made about me having something to do with his disappearance, when Homeland Security has known where he is.’
“Also noteworthy is the document they display from Homeland Security, which was not formed as an agency until 2002, five years after Don Lewis’ disappearance, saying they had information that Don Lewis was alive in Costa Rica,” they wrote at the time. “Why is this just appearing?”
There were screenshots of the alleged DHS documents present in Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue blog post from the second season of the show, as well as unsubstantiated fan theories suggesting that she had killed him, according to the blog post.
“And for everyone who still wants to believe that Carole killed Don, then please explain to us why you think armchair detectives or you are better informed than the Special Agent in Charge at the FBI in this Homeland Security Document which says ‘Don Lewis is currently alive and well in Costa Rica,’” they wrote. “This was reported to Jorge Fernandez of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office by the SAC at the FBI according to this letter. While they have purposely redacted the SAC’s name and date, we do know that there wasn’t a Homeland Security until November 2002 which was 5 years after Don Lewis left home in Tampa, FL.”
Despite being over a year old, people are only now starting to pay attention to the news due to viral social media posts.
“Was I the only one that didn’t know they found Carole Baskin’s husband living his best life in Costa Rica?!” someone wrote on Twitter.
Another person wrote, “Hold on, I’m seeing people saying that Carole Baskin’s husband was found ALIVE???”
Baskin has since remarried, having wed Howard Baskin in 2004, who was also featured alongside the animal activist on the hit show.