- The “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin’s missing husband’s will was forged, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
- Baskin’s husband Don Lewis vanished in 1997 and was declared legally dead in 2002.
- The Netflix series “Tiger King” emphasised the mysterious nature of Lewis’ disappearance and showed speculation by Baskin’s rival Joe Exotic that she was involved. She has denied any involvement in the disappearance.
- “They had two experts deem it 100% a forgery. But, we knew that … we knew that before,” Chronister told the local station WTSP.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The mysterious disappearance of Don Lewis, the husband of the “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin, prompted a slew of theories when Netflix premiered the hit show this year.
Now, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister has told the local news station WTSP that Lewis’ will was forged. The will left his estate, estimated to be worth about $US10 million, to Baskin and cut out his family, according to Fox News.
“They had two experts deem it 100% a forgery. But, we knew that… we knew that before,” Chronister told WTSP.
This isn’t the first time the authenticity of Lewis’ will has been questioned. Joseph Fitz, Lewis’ friend and former lawyer, told Fox News in May that the signature on the document that awarded Baskin a majority of his estate was forged.
An article published in Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger said the notary listed on the will did not remember authenticating the document. The Clarion Ledger also reported that two handwriting experts said Lewis’ signature on the will appeared to be traced from his 1991 marriage licence.
The statute of limitations on any crime related to the will itself has expired, according to WTSP, which noted that Lewis vanished in 1997 and was declared legally dead in 2002.
Baskin’s “Tiger King” nemesis Joe Exotic repeatedly speculated that Baskin played a role in Lewis’ disappearance, which Baskin has denied.
“Don was not easy to live with and like most couples, we had our moments. But I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance,” Baskin said in response to the Netflix series. “When he disappeared, I did everything I could to assist the police. I encouraged them to check out the rumours from Costa Rica, and separately I hired a private investigator.”
Exotic, whose real name is Joe Maldonado-Passage, is serving a 22-year prison sentence after a jury found him guilty of several “wildlife violations,” as CNN notes, and a murder-for-hire plot to kill Baskin.
- Read more:
- Carole Baskin says she’s not sure if Big Cat Rescue will open to the public again after ‘Tiger King’
- Carole Baskin has gained control of Joe Exotic’s former zoo made famous by ‘Tiger King’
- Carole Baskin is selling ‘Tiger King’ face masks, and a portion of proceeds goes towards rescuing big cats
- People rushed to the ‘Tiger King’ zoo when it reopened, and visitors say most weren’t wearing masks or social distancing