The release of Netflix documentary 'Tiger King' has led to police in Florida asking for new leads in the disappearance of Don Lewis.
The documentary looks at the world of big cat breeding in the US, mainly focusing on Joe Exotic and his zoo in Oklahoma. His nemesis is animal rights activist Carole Baskin who runs Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.
One episode of the show concentrates on the disappearance of Baskin's second husband, Don Lewis. The two first met in the early 80s and were married until Lewis went missing in 1997. He was declared legally dead five years later.
Allegations regarding Baskin's involvement in Lewis's disappearance are made during the show, though she denies them throughout (and again did so in a blog post over the weekend).
Since @netflix and #Covid19 #Quarantine has made #TigerKing all the rage, I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads. #CaroleBaskin #DonLewis #Netflix #Tiger #BigCatRescue #JoeExotic #TigerKingNetflix #HCSO pic.twitter.com/LHoJcBZVOI
— Chad Chronister (@ChadChronister) March 30, 2020
On Monday, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister tweeted that his office is looking for new leads in their investigation of Lewis's disappearance.
"I watched it," Chronister told radio station 102.5 The Bone regarding the Netflix show.
"So many people are at home doing the right thing [social distancing], watching Netflix and this thing's becoming a phenomenon, I was like, 'We have to take advantage of this. Let's put this out'.
"You see how convoluted and complex the story is and his life was the same way.
"This entire investigation was the same way. There were so many people who felt compelled to be loyal, felt their lives would be in danger.
"So many people's stories changed. When homicide detectives went down to Costa Rica - where he had a house and another girlfriend - there were two security guards that worked at the same gate, worked at the same time; one said 'I haven't seen him in six months' and one said 'I saw him a week ago'.
"At every turn, it was another obstacle that detectives faced trying to solve this case."
The possibility that Don Lewis was disposed of using a meat grinder at the Big Cat Rescue complex is mentioned on the 'Tiger King'. It was also brought up during Chronister's interview.
"We do know that there were two meat grinders and they were removed before his death," the sheriff said.
"That doesn't mean someone couldn't have taken him somewhere else and done this to him off location.
"[Don Lewis] was involved with so many different shady business dealings with people down in Costa Rica.
"I'm not saying any individual did this at this point but what wealthy person do you know that takes off and disappears but leaves his money behind?
"That's another thing, how many people have a will that says 'In case my disappearance, leave all my money to this person'?"