Yes. I know. It took a while for me to pump out this recap. I’ve been busy, ok? But part of my business poured into other Tiger King blogs: like Joe Exotic’s ex-husband getting a full set of teeth and Carole Baskin’s rebuttal to the entire series.
There’s never been a more fitting name for anything on TV since Nickelodeon’s CatDog. That show was literally about an animal that was part-cat, part-dog.
This episode is all about the rumor we heard in the previous episode: did Carole Baskin kill her missing husband and feed his body to the tigers?
I’m all for conspiracy theories. I don’t believe them all, but I love to hear them out. Did we land on the moon? (We did.) Did Jeffrey Epstein kill himself? (He didn’t.) Did Carole Baskin murder her husband and feed his corpse to her tigers? (Let’s find out!)
Before Carole was married to that doofus (and probably a serial killer himself) Howard, she was married to a man named Don Lewis. A very wealthy, very secretive, and very horny dude.
The episode starts with Gladys Lewis Cross (Don Lewis’s ex-wife before Carole) sitting – what appeared to be uncomfortably – in an armchair, not a loveseat, with Lynda Sanchez – one of Don’s daughters, while Gale Rathbone – Don’s other daughter, opted for her own chair next to them both. Gladys tells us that Don used to always talk about how dangerous Carole was.
Don and Carole met in January of 1981, when Carole was only 20 years old. She explained Don as being “22-years my senior” which is a psychopath way of saying he was 42. There’s your first sign Carole is a husband slayer.
Apparently Don was driving down a road late at night when he passed Carole walking along the side of the road crying. Sounds to me like Don mistook Carole for someone of another profession. Carole said she had just gotten into a big argument with her first husband where she had to “throw a potato across the kitchen and into the dining room at him in order to get out the door.” Ah, yes. Your typical marriage argument that leads to potato throwing. There’s your second sign Carole turned her husband into Meow Mix.
Don pulled over to check in on Carole not once, not twice, but THREE times. Keep in mind, this was the early 80s, with some stranger trying to lure a lady 22-years his junior into his truck. When Don pulled over the third time to hire, errr see if Carole was ok, he showed her that he had a gun in his front seat. Ahhh, yes, I’m sure that was comforting in the situation. So Carole – being the crazy lady she is – gets into the truck and holds a gun on Don as they drive around for hours. This actually reminds me of how I met my wife. I wouldn’t leave her alone until she got in my car and pointed a pistol at me. It was love at gun sight.
Don and Carole end up sleeping together that night, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering how romantic it sounded and the fact that Don probably still thought she was a prostitute.
I will say this: any relationship that starts out with one person pointing a gun at the other, you have to assume will end with one of them being fed to tigers (allegedly), right?
Don left his wife and two daughters for Carole. Gladys didn’t want it to end and told Don that she will always love him until the day she died or he got eaten by tigers. Don always called Carole an angel, and Gladys told him, “Yeah, an angel sent from hell, and you’ll learn soon enough.” Pretty spot on, Gladys. Well done.
Don was a very wealthy man. He had amassed millions, but kept his fortune very private. People said he was worth anywhere from $5 million to $10 million. Carole was not wealthy at all when she met Don. In fact, she grew up very poor. As in her family probably shopped at Aldi’s without splurging the .25¢ for a shopping cart.
In 1992, they started buying cats at an exotic animal auction which I’m just now learning is a thing. Imagine someone asking you, “What are you doing tonight? Wanna grab a bite?” And you having to tell them you can’t because you’re going to a damn exotic animal auction. I don’t know if that sounds extremely low rent or extremely pretentious, but it’s definitely one of the two.
Back then Carole bred and sold cats, much like Joe Exotic does… which she chastises him for. How do we know this? Because she wrote about it in her diary. How do we know what’s in her diary? How the hell do you think we know what’s in her diary? Because Joey Ex somehow got pages of her diary and would read them on his TV show. Of course.
Carole wanted to start rescuing cats, but Don apparently wanted to turn their big cats into a business by breeding them and selling them. Which then made him want to take them to Costa Rica because there were fewer regulations down there. Oh, but also because he had a girlfriend down there. Classic Don.
This, of course, made Carole upset. But honey, what did you expect? He literally left his wife and kids for a basket case he met on the side of the road who was 22-years his junior. Don apparently loved the ladies. In this doc, he was called a ‘sexoholic” who had “a roaming eye.” That’s older speak for “horny AF.” Very Doc Antle-like, if you ask me.
Don went to Carole seeking a divorce because he liked other ladies, but also because of their mounting disagreements over the years, but she refused, especially since he would take all the money and belongings and big cat
prison sanctuary. In her diary (that Joe stole), Carole wrote, “I wish there was some way out for me.”
Then there’s the restraining order that Don apparently filed and gave to his secretary in case “anything happened” to him. According to his daughters, this was a big deal because Don didn’t like to go to the police or get the law involved for anything. So for him to stand in front of a judge would’ve been like Joe Exotic not bleaching his hair. It’s just not like him. Evidently his motion for a restraining order was denied, despite the fact that he claimed Carole threatened to kill him.
This restraining order was filed in June. He disappeared in August.
After he disappeared, Carole was intereviewed by many different TV stations, and she was an emotional wreck during them all. LOL, JK! She looked like she couldn’t care less. There’s your third sign that Carole fed her husband to tigers.
Upon getting the call that Don was missing, detectives walked and drove the 40-acre property but found nothing of suspicion. However, you’ll quickly learn that these “detectives” clearly weren’t the sharpest meat grinders in Carole Baskins’ kitchen, because 4 days later, they found Don’s van sitting in the parking lot of a local airport. But that van appeared like it was planted there, and apparently the cops did not search the van at the airfield, but rather drove it back to Carole and Don’s property, waited a few more days and then searched it. I’m no detective, but it appears that’s not the best protocol.
Plus, there was no reason to believe he flew down to Costa Rica himself because his plane was too small to make a direct flight down there and he apparently wasn’t that good of a pilot.
Carole then brought up the idea that Don had been showing signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s. She apparently wrote about that in her diary too. However, everyone else in the documentary said Don was sharp as a tack up until the day he
was fed to tigers went missing. Nice trye, Carole.
Of course he has a music video about this.
If you ask me, this music video is right up there with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” A-ha’s “Take On Me,” or Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again” as the most culture-shifting music videos of all time. Joe’s mostly for alledging that Carole fed her dead husband to her tigers, and Britney’s because of, well, that red jumpsuit.
Joe Exotic explained that tigers have such an acidic (or as Joe pronounced it: aesthetic) stomach that when you feed them a whole turkey, there are no bones left. It’s gone. But Don’s old attorney denounced the idea that one of Carole’s tigers ate Don, citing there would be bones, blood, and there is no tiger who could eat 100 pounds of flesh.
Don’t worry, Joe has an alternative idea.
Joey Ex explained that Don’s own kids have asked that they DNA test the meat grinder in Carole’s house, but they never did.
Carole was asked about the meat grinder theory in this episode and she explained the meat grinder they owned was very small. Which is a fair rebuttal, but she was laughing out loud while she said it. Pretty sure if someone accused me of running my “missing” husband through a meat grinder – no matter the size – I wouldn’t laugh while saying I didn’t. But to each their own, I guess?
Since the show has dropped, Carole has given a full defense breakdown of not only this rumor but every rumor the Netflix documentary alludes to, and let me tell you, her defense is WILD! We broke it down here:
Then there was the rumor that his body is in her septic tank – which also was never checked. Carole also laughed while defending herself against this rumor. Carole, this isn’t open mic night at the Laugh Factory. What the hell is so funny? There’s your fourth sign that Carole is a husband chef for her cats.
If you’re sitting at home thinking, “This show can’t get any wilder.” Tiger Kings like, “Hold my meth.”
It turns out that Carole’s brother was a member of the sheriff’s department, and some believe he pulled weight at the sheriff’s department to tread lightly around his sister. Not to mention, that according to the report, Carole left the property to drive to Albertson’s to buy milk byproducts for the cats. Simple enough, right? Yeah. except this all went down at 3 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!
Now, call me old fashioned, but I tend to do my grocery shopping between the hours of 9am and 10pm. Can’t remember the last time I picked up milk byproducts at 3am on the night one of my loved ones went missing.
On the way to make a mid-night grocery run, her car broke down leading her to run into her brother and another deputy. The other deputy gave her a ride home. A few hours later is when Carole claimed to be the last time she ever saw her husband. The detectives apparently never pursued this fact either.
Speaking of Carole’s family, her dad apparently hated Don and was very protective of Carole. After Don was missing, Don and her dad, Vernon, went to Don’s handyman and said they needed to get something out of Don’s office. While they were there, they cut the locks on the gate, cut the locks to the office, cut the power to the trailer, cut the water, and cut the sewer. Why? I don’t know, maybe because in the office, there were two wills and two power of attorneys. And the power of attorney was Anne McQueen, Don’s secretary. Not Carole.
Shortly after these documents were taken from the office, Carole produced a new power of attorney, which named herself. Oh and one other minor tidbit: “The durable family power of attorney shall not be affected by any disability or disappearance.”
Come again? Disappearance? That little note wasn’t buried in the document either. That was the first line. According to Don’s attorney, in his 37 years of work, he had never seen a power of attorney include that verbiage. Hmmm. Could this be the fifth sign that Carole made her husband cat sashimi? Oh and speaking of sashimi…
Not a good sign when even The Juice is calling you a spouse murderer. There’s your sixth sign.
After a disappearance, you technically can’t be pronounced legally dead until 5 years after the person goes missing. So what happened on 5 years and 1 day after Don’s disappearance? Carole had him pronounced legally dead. How thoughtful of her. She probably had one of those countdown calendars counting down until the day when she declare him deadzo.
There was never a formal funeral or memorial either. Again, how thoughtful. Instead, on the day the death certificate came in the mail, she just looked out the window for a long time. Carole is just so damn caring. What a way to honor your dead husband.
So what happened to Don Lewis? Who knows? Well, who – other than Carole [bleeping] Baskin – knows? But now Carole is very wealthy, living with a new man, Howard, who she can control much better than she could Don. How do I know? Uh, one look at their family photo album.
Plus, Howard doesn’t really strike me as a multiple girlfriend kind of guy. Especially not a multiple girlfriend in Costa Rica kind of guy. He’s more of a “I’ll make those returns at Chicos for you, sweetie” kind of guy.
Guess we’ll never know the truth.
If you missed any of our other recaps: