Should Don Lewis ever return from his decades-long disappearance, Tiger King star Carole Baskin says she'd be willing to care for him for "the rest of his life." In a new interview with Britain's The Telegraph tabloid, the Tiger King personality says she doesn't think that will happen. Instead, Baskin says, she believes her second husband suffered a mental break. As she suggests, if Lewis is still alive, he probably "has absolutely no idea who he is."
"And, you know, I really believe he was suffering mentally, so if he's alive somewhere, he probably has absolutely no idea who he is. But if that were the case, I would take care of him for the rest of his life," Baskin told the paper. "I am happily married, but I always loved Don."
When asked if her current husband would be okay with that situation, Baskin said absolutely. "Oh yeah! He's an angel," she added.
Baskin and Lewis married in 1991 and started their first animal sanctuary in 1992. Originally founded as Wildlife on Easy Street, Baskin chose to renamed the outfit to Big Cat Rescue after Lewis' mysteriously vanished in 1997. Baskin and Big Cat Rescue were heavily featured in last year's Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness docuseries on Netflix.
Though Lewis' disappearance has never been solved, he was legally declared dead in 2002. No arrests or charges have been made in the 23-plus years since he was last seen.
In an interview last year, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister admitted he thinks more than one person could actually be responsible for Lewis' death.1comments
"I'm extremely suspicious, not just of her, of this whole circle here. Extremely suspicious," he told TMZ at the time. "Like I said, I don't want to allude to the fact or insinuate that she's our person of interest and that this is who we're focusing on. I'm not comfortable saying that yet ... Listen, there's not normally one person that commits a homicide. It's always a couple people. This had to be extremely planned out. This had to be well thought out. There has to be someone else involved in this. There's someone who was paid to do it, there's someone who helped do it. I'm hoping that person wants to come and get this off their chest and help law enforcement do the right thing."
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness is now streaming on Netflix.