Carole Baskin is reportedly being targeted by a private investigator in the hunt for her missing ex-husband.
The Tiger King star’s ex-husband, Don Lewis was legally declared dead in 2002 after disappearing in 1997 following a filing of a restraining order against his wife. Baskin has been the centre of allegations since Joe Exotic accused her of murder in the 2020 Netflix documentary.
But now, the Daily Mail has exclusively revealed that private investigator Jim Rathmann is planning on looking further into the case.
He plans on investigating the case using cadaver dogs and forensic experts to scan ‘potential places of interest’ for human remains. This includes the former Florida home of her big cat sanctuary.
Rathmann told the outlet: “I would like to investigate the grounds of Big Cat Rescue. I have worked with cadaver dogs in the past, who detect the scents of human remains as much as 20ft above water and can pick up on scents even after over twenty years since a death.
“I am not accusing Carole of murdering Don, but there remains many questions of doubt about how Don disappeared.
“An extensive investigation conducted by my team could help eliminate doubts or provide new evidence that could help bring Don’s family closure.
“Joe Exotic alleged that Don was buried on the property underneath a septic tank, which was installed after his disappearance. We do not know if that it’s true. But attempts to have that area dug up have been denied. It would be good to get on the property.”
He continued: “If any human remains’ fragments exist, like teeth and bone, we would still be able to extract DNA after all these years.
“So forensics could determine, from the smallest of bone fragments, whether it could be Don’s body.”
The news comes after Baskin claimed that her ex-spouse was in fact alive during an appearance on ITV’s This Morning back in 2021.
She claimed that the US Department of Homeland Security had been in touch with Lewis and knew from the very start where he was located.
“One of the really exciting things that came out of Tiger King 2 is that they produced a letter from Homeland Security and it says that a special agent in charge with the FBI at Homeland Security reached out to the sheriff’s detective George [Jorge] Fernandez, which means this had to have happened after 2002, because Homeland Security wasn’t even around until 2002,” she said.
“They said that my husband, Don Lewis, is alive and well in Costa Rica,” adding: “I didn’t think he was capable of supporting himself.
“He took about a million dollars down to Costa Rica, I had agreed to let him do that so he could prove to himself that he could make a living.”
TMZ put out a picture purported to be from the Department of Homeland Security, affirming that, despite popular belief, Lewis is actually “alive and well.”
“[Redacted] has learned that Don Lewis is currently alive and well in Costa Rica,” the letter said.
“Upon receiving this information, S/A [redacted] contacted Hillsborough Detective Jorge Fernandez and advised him of Lewis’ whereabouts.
“S/A [redacted] has learned that Lewis has loaned money to various individuals in Costa Rica and could live quite well on the interest earned from these loans.
“Lewis could reside in Costa Rica indefinitely. This investigation will be closed.”
The interview caused a buzz on Twitter as it was brought back to the forefront.
One person commented: “If everything about Don Lewis being found alive is true y’all seriously owe Carole Baskin an apology for the way y’all slandered her and accused her of being a murderer without any evidence to back it up because a predator attempted murderer with a hideous mullet said she did it.”
A second wrote: “My mom just told me Carole Baskin’s husband that was presumed dead and you know we all thought she fed him to the tigers, was found alive in Costa Rica???”
Another said: “How did I miss that Carole Baskin’s husband that went missing and claimed to be fed to the tigers was actually found alive in Costa Rica last year?”
While a third commented: “Bruh we all owe Carole a huge apology. We done vilified this woman.
“Swore up and down that this lady killed her husband, just to find out Don is ALIVE!!!! Damn our bad girl.”
However, not everyone is convinced, another chimed: “We need an interview with Don Lewis before we start apologizing to Carol Baskin. The Costa Rica confirmation letter was from 2003. Something ain’t right.”
What do you think?