Florida sheriff says the will of ‘Tiger King’ star Carole Baskin’s missing husband was forged


Carole Baskin, whose longstanding feud with Joe Exotic was chronicled in the hit Netflix docuseries “Tiger King,” has been awarded the zoo once owned by her nemesis. (Credit: Big Cat Rescue)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFOR) — Hello all you cats and kittens. There’s been a major new development in the mysterious disappearance of Florida millionaire and animal sanctuary owner Don Lewis, who was married to Carole Baskin of the Netflix docu-series “Tiger King.”

The Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a new interview earlier this week to 10 Tampa Bay that Lewis’ will was forged. He said “two experts deem it 100% a forgery” and “it certainly cast another shadow of suspicion.”

Chronister said he hopes “something pans out” so they can finally solve the case. Chronister did not say whether Baskin was a suspect.

In March, Chronister asked for new leads in the case of Don Lewis since the “Tiger King” series was so popular.

Lewis and Baskin were married at the time of his disappearance more than 20 years go.

In addition, according to USA Today, Lewis’ friend and former lawyer Joseph Fritz told Fox News’ Nancy Grace that he thought Lewis’ signature was forged on the will that left Baskin with his estate worth up to $10 million. He says he doesn’t remember authenticating it and two handwriting experts have concluded Lewis’ signature was “traced” from his 1991 marriage record.

Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, was featured prominently in the Netflix docu-series including the disappearance of her first husband in 1997. Lewis was declared dead in 2002.

“Tiger King” star Joe Exotic accused Baskin of being responsible for Lewis’ death. She has always denied it.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Oklahoma awarded ownership of the zoo previously run by Joe Exotic to Big Cat Rescue Corp.

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 22-year federal prison for killing five tigers and plotting to have Baskin killed.

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