Tiger King star Carole Baskin sued by missing ex-husband's family for infomation on his disappearance 23 years ago

TIGER King star Carole Baskin has been sued by her missing ex-husband's family for information related to his disappearance.

Baskin was married to Don Lewis, who disappeared a day before a scheduled trip to Costa Rica in 1997, and was declared legally dead in 2002.

Lewis' family have filed a suit against the CEO of Big Cat Rescue – and are offering a $100,000 reward for information about what happened to him.

Baskin and Lewis started an animal sanctuary together in Tampa, Florida, which later became Big Cat Rescue Corporation.

The pair were married at the time of his disappearance – but he had filed for a restraining order against her two months earlier.

Baskin is now being sued by his family in an attempt to get her to submit information, electronic device data, and investigative material related to Lewis on the record.

She became a household name when Tiger King launched on Netflix – as viewers watched the dramatic dynamic between her and fellow big-cat owner Joe 'Exotic' Maldonado-Passage unfold.


Theories about what happened to Baskin's former husband formed part of the hit series, including suggestions that Baskin, who received most of his $6m estate, was responsible for his disappearance.

Baskin has denied having anything to do with it.

Exotic is now serving 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin – and in June, his Oklahoma-based Greater Wynnewood Zoo was relinquished to her.

At a press conference in Tampa, Florida, Lewis’ daughter Gale Rathbone said interest generated by Tiger King spurred action in the case.

She said: "Amazingly, our little family tragedy has become your tragedy.

"Our search for closure and truth has become your mission also.

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"We all know by now that [Lewis] was not a perfect man. But do only the perfect among us deserve justice?"

Baskin told the Associated Press: "It’s been my policy not to discuss pending litigation until it’s been resolved.

"I had told some news outlets that I thought the press conference on 10 August was just a publicity stunt, but at that time was not aware there would be pending litigation."

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