Carole Baskin’s late husband Don Lewis was reportedly murdered in a plane and dumped in the gulf back in 1997. Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies & Cover-Up, a new documentary currently airing on Discovery+, details the possible death of Lewis after years of speculation. Netflix’s Tiger King became everybody’s guilty pleasure when the public health crisis first started, bringing Carole Baskin back into the limelight, along with her missing ex-husband.
While Carole Baskin has definitely benefitted from the Netflix series, she doesn’t think she was portrayed fairly. “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,” she said. “They did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers.” If Baskin wasn’t happy with the Netflix docuseries, she probably isn’t going to like the new Discovery+ doc either.
Don Lewis’ former lawyer Joe Fritz makes some pretty extraordinary claims in Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies & Cover-Up which banks off the success of Netflix’s hit docs-series Tiger King. “I had heard that he got strangled with an electric cord from the backseat of his airplane,” Fritz says. “With somebody else flying, he got dumped out over the gulf.” Joe Exotic made the claims that Carole Baskin had Lewis murdered and fed him to her tigers, which is a theory that a lot of people have shared. Fritz continues.
“I heard it from two different sources. It kind of fits the scenario, because he was a pilot, he’d owned planes, he had a license, he lost his license. His van is at Country Pilot Estates. It’s an unmanned airport, nobody logs you in, nobody logs you out. It’s not unusual for somebody to take off in a plane. So, it all fits together.”
Joe Fritz goes on to claim that Don Lewis was lured onto the airplane with a business opportunity. According to Fritz, he was instead killed and ejected from the aircraft mid-flight. “He got lured up there to do a great deal on an airplane,” Fritz says. “He showed up. Our Sherriff says there was more than one person involved. Yes, he’s right. There’s no question in my mind that this was a murder. The question is who did it and who is behind it?” It is still a mystery as to what happened to Lewis, though many believe that Carole Baskin had something to do with it. It should be noted that she has vehemently denied having to do with his disappearance and is not currently a suspect.
Retired cop Jim Rathmann has launched his own investigation into the disappearance of Don Lewis, with the help of Joe Fritz. However, he questions whether Fritz’s theory is even physically possible “Is it even possible to throw somebody out in flight?” Rathmann asks in the new documentary. “If you had to open that door going against 120, 140 knots, and trying to force that door open and push out a person that you would say at least weighed 150, 160lbs, that would have been very challenging.”
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister previously revealed that his team was getting an average of six calls a day from people claiming to have a new lead on the disappearance of Don Lewis. “Most of them are theories,” he said. “So far there’s no viable leads, but I’m hoping that will change.” With that being said, there still appears to be a lot of different stories floating around 23 years later. You can check out Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies & Cover-Up over at the Investigation Discovery website.