After Tiger King broadcast the curious case of Don Lewis' disappearance into millions of American households, his family is now offering a substantial reward for any information about his case. In a news conference held Monday afternoon, three of Lewis' daughters announced they had hired an attorney and are putting forth a whopping reward of $100,000 if anyone provides information that could solve the case.
The Lewises were joined by attorney John Phillips at the conference in Tampa on Monday, where he announced they were launching their own investigation into Lewis' disappearance. At the same conference, Phillips said he also filed a suit against Carole Baskin on behalf of the Lewis family, all in an attempt to get the Tiger King star to speak on the record regarding the case.
“Amazingly, our little family tragedy has become your tragedy. Our search for closure and truth has become your mission also,” Lewis' daughter Gale Rathbone said at the conference. “We all know by now that (Lewis) was not a perfect man. But do only the perfect among us deserve justice?”
The disappearance of Lewis was just one of the many zany plot threads of Tiger King as it looked at the curious life of Joe Exotic and Baskin, someone he thought of as his archnemesis. As detailed in the series, Exotic — real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage — was found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill Baskin. He's currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for his role in the murder-for-hire plot.
Baskin told the AP she wouldn't comment on the situation, though she did say in a statement she thought the news conference was a publicity stunt. “It’s been my policy not to discuss pending litigation until it’s been resolved," she said. “I had told some news outlets that I thought the press conference on Aug. 10 was just a publicity stunt, but at that time was not aware there would be pending litigation.”
Earlier this summer, a judge awarded Exotic's Wynnewood-based zoo to Baskin and her Big Cat Rescue Corporation after the former failed to pay any restitution as a result of an outstanding $1 million judgment against him. At the time, a federal judge ruled the zoo owner fraudulently transferred ownership of the facility to his mother, voiding the transfer. As such, the judge awarded Baskin the zoo as it was Exotic's lone asset.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness is now streaming on Netflix.