Netflix's Tiger King is a whirlwind rollercoaster of a ride, and some of the most shocking twists center around Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin, and her missing ex-husband, Don Lewis.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Lewis disappeared in 1997 and was declared legally dead five years later; his body has never been found. Baskin's arch-nemesis Joe Exotic is convinced that Baskin did the deed herself. He even made an entire music video based around his theory that Baskin killed her husband, and fed his remains to the tigers at Big Cat Rescue.
Lewis' disappearance is examined in detail in episode three of Tiger King, which makes it clear that Joe Exotic definitely isn't the only person who thinks Baskin is guilty.
Other people also stepped forward to express their suspicions, including Lewis' lawyer, secretary, ex-wife, and daughters. Baskin, who also has a big role in the documentary, calmly answered all of the Tiger King producers' questions about the case, always insisting upon her innocence, but if you go by how the documentary presents things, there are reasons to be suspicious. But as Carole put it way back in 1998, when the spotlight was on her as the story was unfolding,
"Without a body, there is nothing I can do to clear my name."
Even today, the mystery is still continuing to unravel. In April 2020, a body language expert shared some insight about Baskin's Tiger King interviews. Even though Carole Baskin seems eerily calm while discussing her ex-husband in Tiger King, psychologist and body language analyst Bruce Durham has shared his opinion that Baskin's gestures reveal that she might be hiding something.
According to him, one clue that she's keeping a secret of some sort is all in the lips, specifically, the fact that she presses them together when asked about rumors that she threatened her husband before his disappearance. In Durham's analysis, the expert alleged that this is a compelling sign of someone hiding something that they're thinking about, but don't want to say.
Durham also noticed something interesting when Baskin was asked why she never had a memorial ceremony for her missing, presumed dead husband. To Durham, the fact that she doesn't look down and search for memories while discussing this is a clue that there's more to the story than she's letting on. According to him, people tend to look down when they're searching for memories, or digging back through emotional moments in their life. Carole, he claims, doesn't do that.
In Tiger King, Baskin recalls receiving the letter about Lewis being declared dead. She says she got the letter in the morning and the next thing she knew, it was nighttime.
If that's the case, Durham finds it suspicious that Carole doesn't appear to reflect on why she suffered such a lengthy blackout, or display much emotion about what would probably be a pretty upsetting memory.
Of course, Durham couldn't say for sure whether Baskin had anything to do with Lewis' disappearance. He does, however, have some follow-up questions for her, just like many viewers.
Shortly after Tiger King shot to the number one spot on Netflix, Carole Baskin released a lengthy statement condemning the series, and the way that it portrayed her story. Baskin, who now runs Big Cat Rescue with her second husband, Howard Baskin, says she was told the series was intended to draw attention to the plight of captive big cats, not dig up a cold case she was involved in from decades past. She wrote in the statement,
"There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the series not only does not do any of that, but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers."
In her statement, Baskin aimed to refute pretty much every allegation made in Tiger King about her alleged role in Don Lewis' disappearance, from the restraining order to the meat grinder to the claims that she was after Lewis' money, and she came with receipts, including several court documents. She called the idea that she was involved in his disappearance "idiotic."
The producers of Tiger King responded to Baskin's statement, alleging that she was aware of the content of the series and wasn't coerced to appear in it.
Despite a police investigation, Don Lewis' body was never found. That means the case is still technically open after 23 years. In fact, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister asked the public for new tips on the case following Tiger King's sensational debut. Watch the video to hear a Body Language Expert Make A Bold Claim About Carole Baskin!#CaroleBaskin #TigerKing
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