Was Carole Baskin's Husband Strangled And Dumped From A Plane?

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Carole Baskin
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Carole Baskin is a big-cat rights activist and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. Her rescue is a non-profit animal sanctuary near Tampa, Florida.

Baskin is notorious for being featured in the 2020 Netflix documentary series Tiger King as well as her follow-up appearance on Dancing With The Stars.

Tiger King centered around private zoo operator Joe Exotic — who's currently in prison — and his contentious relationship with Baskin, who he accused of trying to take him down.

Exotic also accused Baskin of murdering her husband, Don Lewis.

Lewis mysteriously disappeared in 1997 and ever since his disappearance, copious theories about his whereabouts have come to fruition.

The latest one is pretty stratling: Lewis's lawyer now states that he was “strangled with cord in a plane and dumped over gulf.” 

Inside the Carole Baskin Husband Death Theories:

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Carole Baskin's husband mysteriously disappeared in 1997. 

Don Lewis disappeared on August 18, 1997. According to Baskin, he allegedly went to Costa Rica and never came back.

He was declared legally dead in 2002. Many believed that Carole Baskin had something to do with his death but to this day, Baskin denies any involvement with his death. 

Lewis allegedly went to Costa Rica because he was cheating on Basking with another woman.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister stated, “[Lewis] had a home in Costa Rica, he had a girlfriend in Costa Rica, he had a property manager there, he had shady business dealings with individuals there, per her account, he leaves that morning and that’s the last time that she sees him.”

When the police began searching for signs that Don Lewis made it to Costa Rica, they didn’t find any. Although, they did find his van abandoned at the airport in Florida.

Chronister explained, “It was almost like wanting someone to see that he had left the country. Fast forward, we send detectives to Costa Rica, his girlfriend, the property manager, some other individuals he knew, even the security workers, all said they hadn’t seen him. Everyone had different stories — and that was the biggest obstacle that detectives ran into — but the common denominator here was no one had seen him [for a while] before his disappearance.”

Don Lewis's lawyer claims he was strangled in an airplane and his body was dumped over the Gulf. 

In a new documentary called Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies, & Cover-Up — the trailer, which can be viewed above — retired cop Jim Rathmann begins a fresh investigation into Lewis’ disappearance. Rathmann even goes to talk to Lewis’ former lawyer named Joe Fritz. 

In the documentary, Fritz offers up interesting details and states, “I had heard that he got strangled with an electric cord from the backseat of his airplane. With somebody else flying, he got dumped out over the Gulf. 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 licence. 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.” 

Fritz even says that Lewis was coaxed onto the plane with a business offer. Fritz said, “He got lured up there to do a great deal on an airplane. He showed up. Our Sheriff 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?” 

Rathmann questions him, “Is it even possible to throw somebody out in flight? 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.”

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Joe Exotic's theory is that Carole Baskin fed her husband to her tigers. 

Exotic took this theory so far that he even wrote a song about it, called “Here Kitty Kitty.” In the music video for the song, he had a Baskin look-alike feed a fake body to tigers.

Baskin has denied these claims in the documentary and stated that theyre, “totally outlandish.”

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Another theory suggests that Carole Baskin's husband is in a septic tank. 

Another interesting theory is that Don Lewis was put into a septic tank that was under one of the buildings at Big Cat Rescue. 

In the Tiger King documentary, Exotic states that if they end up digging up the septic tank, they'll find Lewis’ body. 

Is Don Lewis alive in Costa Rica?

Baskin states that the last thing Lewis ever said to her was that he was leaving “early early” in the morning to go on a trip to Costa Rica. He allegedly was going to ship cars there.

Lewis’s handyman in the documentary claimed that Lewis stated, “If I can pull off [disappearing to Costa Rica[ it will be the slickest thing I ever did.”

He even allegedly asked the handyman to join him on his trip. Don Lewis’s plan was to move Baskin’s wildlife sanctuary to Costa Rica and his assistant said that he flew from Miami to Costa Rica.

Lewis’s business associate said in the Tiger King documentary that he believed that Lewis thought Baskin wanted his money so he was trying to hide his money so he could divorce Baskin and leave her with nothing. 

It was also suggested that he had a secret girlfriend in Costa Rica, which would track with his plans to relocate there. 

Don Lewis had his own airplane and his van was found left at an airport. Rumors also persist that he tried to fly himself to Costa Rica but didn’t end up making it to his destination. In Tiger King, it was noted that it's “impossible” to get those small planes to such a far destination without making pit stops.

Lewis also previously lost his pilot’s license so it would make sense if the trip was never officially documented.

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Jaycee Levin is a writer, influencer, and blogger living in New York who loves celebrities, fashion, and reality television. She covers news and entertainment for Yourtango. Follow her on Instagram.