Carole Baskin says ‘dead’ husband was found alive — but no one noticed

Eventually, after more than a year, the revelation is currently gaining widespread attention, but the celebrity from “Tiger King” asserted that her vanished former spouse, Don Lewis, was located living in Costa Rica.

During an interview with ITV’s talk show “Morning” in November 2021, Carole Baskin, who was legally declared dead in 2002 after allegedly disappearing a few years before, resurfaced alive and well.

Nevertheless, not everyone is convinced.

Baskin personally notified The Post that she had no awareness of the alleged revelation until the subsequent series was broadcasted in November 2021.

The animal rights advocate claimed that her ex-partner had contacted the Department of Homeland Security, as shown in the reemerged ITV video. As this news spread on social media, causing a lot of confusion and online discussions, Baskin informed The Post through email, stating, “I had no knowledge of it until ‘TK2’ was broadcasted.”

Don Lewis
Don Lewis is Carole Baskin’s still missing ex-husband.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Baskin, in her statement to the outlet, mentioned that Homeland Security did not exist prior to 2002, implying that the incident in question must have occurred after that year. According to her, a special agent from the FBI, working in conjunction with Homeland Security, contacted sheriff’s detective George [Jorge] Fernandez. Additionally, she revealed that a letter from Homeland Security was produced, which was one of the noteworthy revelations in ‘Tiger King 2’.

She disclosed, “They stated that my spouse, Don Lewis, is alive and in good health in Costa Rica.” “However, despite the fact that Homeland Security has been aware of his whereabouts, all of this turmoil has been created around the notion that I am involved in his vanishing.”

Lewis vanished in 1997 at the age of 59 — and would be 84 if he’s still living today.

The Post has contacted Baskin, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI for additional commentary. Meanwhile, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida partially refuted Baskin’s recently popularized statements when asked for verification.

Fentress Fountain, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office, informed The Post that they have not received any communication from our federal partners regarding the missing person case of Mr. Don Lewis. The investigation into Don Lewis’ disappearance remains a priority for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

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Lewis has not made any public statements refuting rumors that he had passed away.

"Tiger King" star Carole Baskin says that her ex-husband, who was declared dead in 2002, has actually been found alive.
“Tiger King” star Carole Baskin says that her ex-husband, who was declared dead in 2002, has actually been found alive.
Getty Images for NightFly Entert
Netflix showed redacted documents allegedly from the DHS that supposedly prove Don Lewis is alive.
Netflix showed redacted documents allegedly from the DHS that supposedly prove Don Lewis is alive.
Carole Baskin has appeared in a viral TikTok video set to a song that claims she killed her missing husband, Don Lewis.
Carole Baskin has appeared in a viral TikTok video set to a song that claims she killed her once-missing husband, Don Lewis.

I told ITV Baskin, “I’m glad to hear that he’s well and alive in Costa Rica, but I don’t know how Security Homeland knows it.” I had agreed to let him do that, so he took about a million dollars to go to Costa Rica. I didn’t think he was capable of supporting himself.”

In Season 2, in which she was not involved, Netflix disclosed his supposed location to DHS, raising questions about why Baskin and her present spouse Howard authored a blog on her Big Cats Rescue website in November 2021.

‘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.’

Carole Baskin

They wrote, “They had information saying that Lewis Don was alive in Costa Rica, at the time of his disappearance five years ago. It is also noteworthy that the document displayed is from Homeland Security, which was not formed as an agency until 2002.”

The Post has contacted Netflix for a statement.

She had killed him, and the blog post contained screenshots of alleged unverified claims, theories, and documents from the second season of Big Cat Rescue.

They wrote, “This information was reported to Jorge Fernandez of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office by the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) at the FBI, as stated in this letter. Although the SAC’s name and date have been intentionally withheld, it is known that the establishment of Homeland Security did not occur until November 2002, five years after Don Lewis left his home in Tampa, FL.” “If anyone still believes that Carole is responsible for Don’s death, please provide us with a comprehensive explanation as to why you believe that armchair detectives or you possess superior knowledge compared to the Special Agent in Charge at the FBI, as stated in this Homeland Security Document which declares ‘Don Lewis is currently alive and well in Costa Rica.'”

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Baskin revealed in an interview that her husband was found in Costa Rica after being declared legally dead in 2002.
Baskin revealed in an interview that her husband was found in Costa Rica after being declared legally dead in 2002.
©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Colle

Due to the now-viral social media posts, individuals are only beginning to take notice of it, despite the fact that the news is more than a year old. Furthermore,

On Twitter, an individual expressed, “Was I aware that Carole Baskin’s spouse was enjoying an exceptional existence in Costa Rica, while I remained oblivious?!”

Another individual expressed, “Wait a moment, I’m noticing individuals claiming that Carole Baskin’s spouse was discovered ALIVE???”.

As per CBS News, she asserted that she never received any communication from him subsequently to his vanishing, and the couple were wedded. Baskin disclosed that her former spouse had inexplicably gone missing in 1997 during the inaugural installment of the popular Netflix documentary series, which debuted during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

She has since remarried, tying the knot with Howard Baskin in 2004.

Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin, seen here with her current husband Howard Baskin, says her ex-husband is alive.
Getty Images for NightFly Entert

After sharing her story on the series chronicling the tribulations and trials of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Tiger King or Exotic Joe, many people thought that Carole Baskin had something to do with her ex’s disappearance, launching even some outlandish conspiracy theories, including the unfounded claim that she was involved in a plot-for-hire murder.

She is currently serving a 21-year sentence for allegedly hiring a hitman to take out Big Cat Rescue’s Exotic Tiger, which she also claimed to have fed to her big cats.

Baskin was incredibly impacted by the entire ordeal that she joined a discreet support group for renowned individuals encountering similar circumstances.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Baskin’s arch-rival Exotic dismissed the new allegations on Wednesday in a statement.

“Peruse it. The task is complete. The falsehoods and arrangement are elucidated in his Motion for New Trial. We are still anticipating a hearing for Joe’s liberation. The narrative of the Tiger King is brimming with untruths, arrangement, and diversion. It does not. It is being reissued as though it possesses credibility. The 2021 report by Carole Baskin was additionally an unsubstantiated accusation,” attorney John M. Phillips shared on Facebook. “He is deceased. They all were unsuccessful. Throughout the filming of Tiger King, exhaustive attempts were made to locate Don Lewis.”

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Lewis’ family, who suspected Baskin’s involvement in his disappearance and went as far as paying for a TV spot, sought answers and advice from the public during her 2020 debut on “Dancing With The Stars.”

During the advertisement, Phillips, Exotic’s lawyer, inquired if you were aware of the person accountable for this or if Carole Baskin played a part.

This undated file photo provided by the Santa Rose County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic. A federal judge in Oklahoma has set a Jan. 28, 2022,
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, is currently serving a 21-year sentence.
Santa Rosa County Jail via AP, File

Nevertheless, Baskin has strongly refuted those allegations.

The owner of Big Cat Rescue expressed in an email to CNN, following the broadcast of the commercial, “I perceive their actions as merely a publicity stunt, however, if it aids us in locating Don, it will provide immense solace.”

Claiming her involvement in Lewis’ vanishing, Baskin has voiced her contempt for the story crafted by Netflix and was not included in the second season of “Tiger King”.

Six Page informed Baskin that the show was released in May 2021, six months before. Baskin was told, “I told them I would lose my number.” Baskin responded, “I am ashamed of myself twice, you are ashamed of yourself once.”

A picture of Carole Baskin on July 20, 2017.
Baskin has spoken out about Netflix alleging she had something to do with Lewis’ disappearance.

In a declaration in 2021, the Baskins informed the Los Angeles Times that Season 2, as anticipated and suggested in the Trailer, persists in doing everything they are able to deceitfully persuade the viewer that Carole was implicated in Don Lewis’ vanishing.

They also claimed that the subsequent season generated a fresh “wave” of social media detractors against the advocate for animal rights.

“The allegations, deliberately strengthened and amplified, were accompanied by pictures or footage of Carole, selected by the creators, in Season 1. The creators persisted with the method they employed, in line with their previous absence of moral principles,” their statement further explained. “A subsequent wave of online animosity targeting Carole on the day of the premiere has been the expected outcome.”

A picture of Carole Baskin.
Baskin filed a lawsuit against Netflix in November 2021, alleging that her scenes in the trailer were not an accurate representation of what happened.

Following the release of the second season’s trailer, Baskin initiated a legal action against Netflix and Royal Goode Productions in November 2021.

She claimed that the scenes featuring her in the trailer were not a true representation of what actually happened in the lawsuit. She requested the judge to prevent any of her footage from being used in the second season and also to remove it from trailers, teasers, and promotional materials.

The legal case was dismissed one month afterwards.

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