Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

The Netflix series ‘Tiger King’ has prompted the Sheriff of Hillsborough County Florida to seek tips from the public in solving a 1997 cold case surrounding the disappearance of millionaire Don King, the husband of Big Cat Rescue CEO Carol Baskin.

Netflix ‘Tiger King’ series drums up interest

If you do any surfing online at all, you can’t miss the numerous stories about the Netflix series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” that is all the rage right now among the public, celebrities, and even US Senators.

The strange-but-true story has prompted an abundance of questions online about the 33-year-old cold case surrounding the disappearance of millionaire Don Lewis.

The Netflix series is focused around the big cat industry, mostly centered on all the goings-on and tensions between private zoo owners and animal rights advocates.

Sheriff hopes interest in Netflix series will help solve the cold case

Sheriff Chad Chronister of Hillsborough County, Florida decided to take advantage of the public interest and is now reaching out in hopes that someone with information may come forward with a tip that could provide the turning-point in solving a case that has been on the books since 1997.

The “Tiger King” disappearance

Jack Donald Lewis, known as “Don,” was last seen on August 18, 1997.

He is identified as a white male, five foot ten inches tall and weighing 170 pounds. He would be 82 years old this month.

Netflix star accuses wife of feeding husband to big cats

The “star” of the Netflix series Joe Exotic has fueled rumors that Lewis’ then-wife at the time of his disappearance, Carol Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue and an animal rights activist, murdered Don and then fed his body to the big cats on her Florida property.

Baskin has denied the allegations in a recent blog post.

“Don was not easy to live with and like most couples, we had our moments, Baskin wrote, “but I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance.”

“When he disappeared, I did everything I could to assist the police,” Baskin continued. “I encouraged them to check out the rumors from Costa Rica, and separately I hired a private investigator.”

Baskin also denied any suggestion that she put her ex-husband’s body through the big cat rescue meat grinder, calling the allegations “the most ludicrous of all lies.”

Baskin claims that Lewis was suffering from Alzheimer’s before his disappearance.

Joe Exotic convicted of attempting to have Baskin killed

If you haven’t watched the “Tiger King” true-crime series on Netflix, you may not be aware that Joe Exotic was was previously the owner of the G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma.

But he was arrested for twice hiring in separate attempts to have Carol Baskin killed. Neither attempt succeeded.

Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was found guilty on 19 federal counts and sentenced to prison in April 2019.

The Sheriff’s Office wants your help in solving this case

Anyone with any tips, leads or information is urged to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200.