Family of Carole Baskin’s missing husband runs commercial during her ‘Dancing With the Stars’ debut


LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — While “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin made her debut on the dance floor on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” Monday night, the family of her missing former husband debuted a commercial asking for viewers’ help in the disappearance of Don Lewis.

Lewis, Baskin’s former husband and Tampa-based millionaire, went missing in 1997 and was later declared legally dead in 2002.

Lewis’ vanishing was an intriguing peripheral story line in the Netflix true crime docuseries that centered on the rivalry between big cat sanctuary owner Baskin and eccentric tiger trader Joseph Maldonado-Passage.

In the show, Baskin’s nemesis — Maldonado-Passage — insinuated foul play and that Baskin fed Lewis’ remains to her tigers.

Baskin has denied any involvement in her former husband’s disappearance.

Maldonado-Passage, better known by his stage name Joe Exotic, was sentenced earlier this year to 22 years in prison for killing five tigers and his role in a murder-for-hire plot to kill Baskin.

The commercial features Lewis’ three daughters and former assistant with a plea for anyone with information on Lewis to come forward. The family announced a $100,000 reward and offered a tip line for anyone with information to call.

Attorney for the Lewis family, John Phillips, released a video on YouTube Monday night talking about the commercial.

He said it would play in several markets — including Tampa where Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue is located.

“We hit some important places,” Phillips said. “We hope people can help and somebody comes forward and we get justice for Don Lewis.”

Baskin joined a new crop of celebrity dancers on Monday night’s premiere of DWTS. She danced to “Eye of the Tiger” while wearing a tiger print outfit.

A June 1 court decision granted Baskin ownership of the land that the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, once owned by Maldonado-Passage, was located.

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