Popularity of Netflix's 'Tiger King' prompts sheriff to ask for leads in 1997 cold case

Popularity of Netflix's 'Tiger King' prompts sheriff to ask for leads in 1997 cold case

A Florida sheriff is jumping on the popularity of Netflix series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” to ask for new leads in the 1997 disappearance of Jack Donald "Don" Lewis.

The true crime docuseries that premiered on Netflix earlier this month revolves around the life of Oklahoma zookeeper Joseph Exotic and the events that led him to plan a murder-for-hire plot against animal rights activist Carole Baskin. The show also explores Baskin’s life, including when her husband, Don Lewis, went missing in 1997.

“Tiger King” and its strange-but-true story has fascinated the internet, its success seemingly fueled by captive audiences sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, even catching the attention of celebrities like Kim Kardashian West.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is taking advantage of the show's popularity to ask for new leads in the case of Lewis.

“Since @netflix and #Covid19 #Quarantine has made #TigerKing all the rage, I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads,” Chronister wrote.

Lewis, a multi-millionaire, was married to Baskin and running a wildlife sanctuary in Tampa with her when he vanished in August of 1997. His van was found at a Pasco County airport with the keys on the floor, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The “Tiger King” docuseries prominently features rumors surrounding Lewis’ disappearance, spread by Joe Exotic and others, about Baskin and the disappearance of Lewis.

Baskin, who reported her husband missing, told authorities that Lewis asked her to help prepare cars for transport to Costa Rica the night before he vanished.

Baskin denied the rumors that she was involved in Lewis' disappearance both in the "Tiger King" series and in a blog post on her Big Cat Rescue website.

“Don was not easy to live with and like most couples, we had our moments,” Baskin wrote. “But I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance.”

Baskin has never been charged in relation to the disappearance of Lewis and the case remains open.