Carole Baskin’s missing ex-husband was ‘strangled and thrown out of an airplane’, his lawyer claims


The lawyer for Carole Baskin’s missing ex-husband Don Lewis (above) claims he was strangled and thrown out of a plane over the Gulf of Mexico 

The lawyer for Carole Baskin’s missing ex-husband claims he was strangled and mercilessly thrown out of a plane over the Gulf of Mexico.

The wildly popular Netflix series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has deepened the mystery of the disappearance of Don Lewis, the second husband of cat conservationist Carole Baskin.

Baskin met real estate millionaire Lewis in 1980, they married in 1991 and together they ran an exotic animal habitat in Hillsborough County, Florida.

However, he vanished without a trace in 1997 leaving a reported fortune of $5million to Baskin. He was later declared legally dead in 2002, but his body was mysteriously never found.

Joseph Fritz was Lewis’ attorney and believes Lewis was killed.

‘What do you believe happened to Jack Don Lewis?’ host Nancy Grace asked Fritz in a new episode of Fox Nation series A Tiger King Investigation.

‘What I had heard was that he was strangled from the backseat of an airplane over the Gulf [of Mexico] at 50 feet and dropped out over the Gulf,’ Fritz said, noting that Lewis preferred to fly low under the range of radar detection because his pilot license had been revoked. 

'What I had heard was that he was strangled from the backseat of an airplane over the Gulf [of Mexico] at 50 feet and dropped out over the Gulf,' Lewis' former attorney Joseph Fritz said on Fox Nation's new series A Tiger King Investigation to host Nancy Grace

‘What I had heard was that he was strangled from the backseat of an airplane over the Gulf [of Mexico] at 50 feet and dropped out over the Gulf,’ Lewis’ former attorney Joseph Fritz said on Fox Nation’s new series A Tiger King Investigation to host Nancy Grace

'In my view, there¿s no question but that he was murdered,' Fritz said to 'As we say in the South, DRT ¿ Dead Right There'

‘In my view, there’s no question but that he was murdered,’ Fritz said to ‘As we say in the South, DRT – Dead Right There’

Fritz believes Lewis was coaxed to a private county airport lured by a deal to purchase an aircraft and was murdered.

‘Don Lewis, he was terribly cheap while he was very wealthy. He was cheap beyond belief. What would have lured him more than anything else is a good deal on an airplane. So that’s what I assume happened — that he got lured up to the Pilot Country Estates to look at an airplane,’ Lewis’ former attorney explained. 

The last sign of Lewis was his abandoned car found in the parking lot of Pilot Country Airport in Springhill, Florida – about 40 miles from his cat sanctuary. 

Baskin told police the last thing she heard from him was he was planning to travel to his Costa Rica home.  

‘In my view, there’s no question but that he was murdered,’ Fritz said to ‘As we say in the South, DRT – Dead Right There.’

Animal activist Carole Baskin (above) met real estate millionaire Lewis in 1980, they married in 1991 and together they ran an exotic animal habitat in Hillsborough County, Florida. She claims she has nothing to do with his disappearance

Animal activist Carole Baskin (above) met real estate millionaire Lewis in 1980, they married in 1991 and together they ran an exotic animal habitat in Hillsborough County, Florida. She claims she has nothing to do with his disappearance

Lewis he vanished without a trace in 1997 leaving a reported fortune of $5million to Baskin (together above). He was later declared legally dead in 2002, but his body was mysteriously never found

Lewis he vanished without a trace in 1997 leaving a reported fortune of $5million to Baskin (together above). He was later declared legally dead in 2002, but his body was mysteriously never found

‘He loved those cats. He never would have just walked away from them – ever. He was proud of those cats. He loved his cats. Some force made him leave,’ he added. 

As highlighted in Tiger King, zoo owner Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, accused Baskin, his rival in the exotic animal world, of murdering her husband.

Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison in April 2019 for trying to kill her in a murder-for-hire plot and for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs, and falsifying wildlife records.

Other theories peddled in the Netflix series include that Baskin killed Lewis and buried his body under a septic tank, that Lewis crashed his plane or that he successfully made it to Costa Rica and started a new life.

As highlighted in Tiger King, zoo owner Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, accused Baskin, his rival in the exotic animal world, of murdering her husband

As highlighted in Tiger King, zoo owner Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, accused Baskin, his rival in the exotic animal world, of murdering her husband

Baskin went on to marry her third husband Howard Baskin in 2003 and together they run the Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary.

Baskin went on to marry her third husband Howard Baskin in 2003 and together they run the Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary.

But the most talked about theory was that Baskin had murdered her first husband and fed him to the tigers in his own park after processing his body through a meat grinder.

Baskin herself said she thinks Don either fled to Costa Rica, or he was thrown off a plane over the Gulf of Mexico.

Detectives have said there was no way one of Don’s private planes could have held enough fuel to take him all the way to Costa Rica, after Baskin said he would often fly below the radar because he had lost his pilot’s licence.

Baskin went on to marry her third husband Howard Baskin in 2003 and together they run the Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary. 

Hillsborough County police have said they currently receive ‘six calls a day’ on the tip line searching for new leads in the Don Lewis case, which remains open to this day.

Baskin has never been charged with a crime in relation to Lewis’ death. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk