Is Carole Baskin's dead husband actually still alive?

Tampa, Florida - Carole Baskin has been the subject of much hostility in recent years thanks to speculation that the star of Netflix's Tiger King killed her husband. According to rumors, she even fed him to her own wild cats. But now, she has claimed he is alive and well, while authorities beg to differ. What's the truth?

Carole Baskin filmed the Netflix series Tiger King to bring attention to her animal activism, but she was soon accused of killing her husband Don Lewis.
Carole Baskin filmed the Netflix series Tiger King to bring attention to her animal activism, but she was soon accused of killing her husband Don Lewis.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Press

Don Lewis, who was legally declared dead in 2002 after going missing five years beforehand, may be out there after all.

A 2021 interview with Baskin is now going viral, in which she told ITV’s This Morning show that her husband, who went missing after six years of marriage,"took about a million dollars down into Costa Rica."

"Homeland Security says he's alive and well," she added, claiming the government organization reached out and knows his whereabouts.

As the nugget is quite the bombshell that has only now come to light, let's rewind back to the beginning of this debacle.

Baskin is an animal rights activist who rose to fame in 2020 after appearing in the quarantine favorite docuseries Tiger King alongside wild cat lover Joe Exotic.

However, the show's third episode was not about the animals, as one might have expected. Instead, it chronicled the disappearance of Baskin's husband in 1997. In doing so, the episode heavily implied his disappearance could have been a cold-blooded murder by Baskin.

Cardi B celebrates the fathers in her life, including her "baby father" Offset
Cardi B Cardi B celebrates the fathers in her life, including her "baby father" Offset

The 61-year-old has denied the accusation and felt betrayed by the show's creators, even filing a lawsuit. Online, however, the theory gain traction, and it wasn't long before fans were convinced Baskin had killed her husband.

"All this drama was made about me having something to do with his disappearance when Homeland Security knows where he is," Baskin said in the uncovered interview.

Now, questions remain, as local authorities have responded disputing her claims.

Carole Baskin allegedly threatened to kill her husband

A search was conducted across the US for Don Lewis, who disappeared in 1997. He was finally pronounced dead - but is he really?
A search was conducted across the US for Don Lewis, who disappeared in 1997. He was finally pronounced dead - but is he really?  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

In July 1997, Lewis filed for a restraining order against his wife on the grounds that she had threatened to kill him. Baskin denies having threatened him to this day. The motion was denied, and the two continued to live together.

In a blog post, Baskin stated in her defense that her husband's mental health had deteriorated shortly before his disappearance, sharing that he regularly rummaged through garbage cans, was often disoriented, and suffered from memory issues.

Lewis was then officially declared dead five years after his disappearance, yet Baskin said in the interview that he actually "took about a million dollars down into Costa Rica and I had agreed to let him do that so he could prove to himself that he could make a living."

Ben Affleck ditches Jennifer Lopez for Jennifer Garner on Father's Day
Jennifer Lopez Ben Affleck ditches Jennifer Lopez for Jennifer Garner on Father's Day

However, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has denied Baskin's newly resurfaced claims.

"We have not received any communication from our federal partners that confirms the location of missing person Mr. Don Lewis," officials told Fox News on Thursday, confirming to multiple outlets that he is still actively missing.

Whether Baskin's story is true remains unclear, and the 2002 declaration that Lewis is dead still stands.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Press

More on Celebrities: