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Tiger King 2: What happened to Carole Baskin's husband, Don Lewis?

There are a number of theories surrounding the mystery…

don lewis tiger king
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
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Tiger King mania is well and truly back thanks to the brand new series landing on Netflix recently. But while watching the new episodes, many are still asking the same question – what happened to Don Lewis?

MORE: Tiger King's Carole Baskin breaks silence after missing husband 'found alive'

The ex-husband of Carole Baskin was thought to be dead after his disappearance was explored in the first season, however, after new threads of a story have come to light, the situation has got more complicated. Here's everything we know about what happened...

WATCH: Tiger King season two: everything you need to know

Who was Carole Baskin's first husband, Don Lewis?

Carole Baskin and Don Lewis married in 1991 and opened their joint business, Big Cat Rescue a year later. Don, who was 22 years Carole's senior, was described as a "self-made millionaire" after starting his own business in the big cat industry.

When did Don Lewis disappear?

In August 1997, Don vanished. Two days after he was declared missing, his van was discovered at a private airport.

Police began investigating and Carole had told authorities that Don said to his wife he was going on a trip to Costa Rica. There was no body discovered and no evidence of Don's death, however, he was later declared dead in 2002.

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don lewis© Photo: Netflix

Carole and Don married in the early nineties

What are the theories surrounding Don Lewis?

There are many theories that Don's family, Carole and fans of Tiger King have come up with to explain the disappearance and possible death of Don, yet the truth is yet to be confirmed. Carole's theory is that her husband was in a plane crash on his way to Costa Rica – which explains the lack of evidence.

In season one of the Netflix show, the possibility of murder was investigated Don's family, and Tiger King himself Joe Exotic, believe Carole had more involvement in his disappearance, but this has not been founded and Carole continues to vehemently deny the claims.

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tiger king don lewis© Photo: Netflix

Don's disappearance is yet to be explained

In 2020, Carole wrote on her blog about the show: "The series presents this without any regard for the truth or in most cases even giving me an opportunity before publication to rebut the absurd claims. They did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers."

More recently in season two, it's revealed that a private investigator had come forward to claim that Don is still alive and living in Costa Rica. Don's lawyer, Joseph Fritz, explains in the new episodes that he learned there were "federal reports" of Don being "alive and well" in Costa Rica.

carole baskin© Photo: Netflix

Carole has always denied she had nothing to do with Don's disappearance

What has Carole Baskin said about Don Lewis?

Carole doesn't appear in the new series herself, but did respond to claims that he was still alive. During an appearance on ITV's This Morning, she explained she thought it seems "impossible" for him to be alive, adding she didn't think he would be able to keep himself afloat. "I didn't think that he was capable of supporting himself," she told Phillip Schofield and Josie Gibson.

"He took about $1 million down to Costa Rica and I had agreed to let him do that so that he could prove to himself that he couldn't make a living. So 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."

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