Carole Baskin's Dead Husband Was Found Alive? Is Don Lewis Leading Lavish Live in Costa Rica? Here's the Truth Behind His Disappearance

In the unearthed ITV tape, the animal rights activist claimed that the Department of Homeland Security had contacted her ex-husband.

'Tiger King' star Carole Baskin's ex-husband Don Lewis, who was declared dead years ago, was reportedly found alive in Costa Rica. However, the news never came out and the discovery is just now going viral. In a 2021 interview with ITV's "This Morning" talk show Baskin revealed that Lew was found alive in Costa Rica.

Lewis was declared dead after he went missing in 1997 but he was found years later in Costa Rica. And he is alive and doing well. If Baskin's claim is true, Lewis should now be 84 years old given that he was 59 years old in 1997. Also, he is likely to have been found sometime after 2002.

Dead Man Walking

Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin Twitter

Baskin, 61, disclosed that her ex, who was declared legally dead in 2002 after going missing a few years earlier, is actually alive and well during an interview with ITV's "This Morning" discussion show in November 2021. However, her claim went unnoticed at that time and is now going viral.

The claimed revelation, according to Baskin, was not made public until the sequel series premiered in November 2021, she told The New York Post. She claimed that Lewis was traced in Costa Rica.

"I was not aware of it until 'TK2' aired," Baskin told outlet in an email, pointing to her Big Cats Rescue blog.

In the unearthed ITV tape, the animal rights activist claimed that the Department of Homeland Security had contacted her ex-husband.

"One of the really exciting things that came out of 'Tiger King 2' is that they produced a letter from Homeland Security and it says that a special agent in charge with the FBI at Homeland Security reached out to the sheriff's detective George [Jorge] Fernandez, which means this had to have happened after 2002, because Homeland Security wasn't even around until 2002," Baskin told the outlet at the time.

"They said my husband, Don Lewis, is alive and well in Costa Rica," she disclosed. "And yet all of this drama has been made about me having something to do with his disappearance, when Homeland Security has known where he is."

Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin Twitter

"I don't know how it is that Homeland Security says he's alive and well in Costa Rica but I'm glad to hear it," Baskin had told ITV during that interview. "I didn't think he was capable of supporting himself. He took about a million dollars down to Costa Rica, I had agreed to let him do that so he could prove to himself that he could make a living."

Still a Mystery

Lewis vanished in 1997 at the age of 59. So, he would be 84 years old now if he were still alive. Lewis hasn't released any statements in the media denying reports that he's passed away.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis Twitter

In a blog post published in November 2021 on her Big Cats Rescue website, Baskin and current Howard questioned why DHS allegedly gave Netflix his locations for season 2, which she did not take part in.

"Also noteworthy is the document they display from Homeland Security, which was not formed as an agency until 2002, five years after Don Lewis' disappearance, saying they had information that Don Lewis was alive in Costa Rica," they wrote at the time. "Why is this just appearing?"

Baskin's Big Cat Rescue blog post addressed unproven fan theories and assertions that she had killed him and included photos of the supposed DHS documents from the second season of the show.

"And for everyone who still wants to believe that Carole killed Don, then please explain to us why you think armchair detectives, or you are better informed than the Special Agent in Charge at the FBI in this Homeland Security Document which says 'Don Lewis is currently alive and well in Costa Rica,'" they wrote.

"This was reported to Jorge Fernandez of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office by the SAC at the FBI according to this letter. While they have purposely redacted the SAC's name and date, we do know that there wasn't a Homeland Security until November 2002 which was 5 years after Don Lewis left home in Tampa, FL."

Joe Exotic
Joe Exotic Twitter

And despite the news being over a year old, it is only now that it is gaining attention due to currently trending social media messages.

"Hold on, I'm seeing people saying that Carole Baskin's husband was found ALIVE???" one person wrote on Twitter.

"Was I the only one that didn't know they found Carole Baskin's husband living his best life in Costa Rica?!" another user wrote.

Baskin reported that her ex-husband unexpectedly vanished in 1997 in the first season of the popular Netflix docuseries, which debuted at the height of the coronavirus outbreak in 2020. The couple was married at the time of his disappearance, and she reportedly said she never heard from him again, according to CBS News.

She later remarried, getting hitched to Howard Baskin in 2004.

Many people assumed that Baskin was involved in her ex's disappearance after she revealed her story on the show that followed the struggles of imprisoned big-cat keeper Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic the Tiger King. Some even started spreading bizarre conspiracy theories, such as the baseless notion that she was complicit in a scheme to commit murder for hire.

Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin Twitter

Exotic said that she had given her ex to the tigers at Big Cat Rescue while he is serving a 21-year sentence for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin.

Baskin became a member of a "hidden" support group for celebrities going through similar experiences since she was so disturbed by it all.

Exotic's lawyer, who is Baskin's fiercest rival, refuted the fresh allegations in a statement on Wednesday.

"During the filming of Tiger King, detailed efforts were made to find Don Lewis. They all failed. He is not alive," lawyer John M. Phillips posted on Facebook. "The 2021 report by Carole Baskin was further unsupported allegation. It's being republished as if it has veracity. It doesn't. The story of the Tiger King is filled with lies, set up and misdirection. We still await a hearing for Joe's freedom. The lies and set up are spelled out in his Motion for New Trial. Read it. The work is done."

Lewis' family also believed Baskin was responsible for his disappearance, and they even paid for a TV ad during her "Dancing With the Stars" premiere in 2020 to solicit information from the public.

"Do you know who did this or if Carole Baskin was involved?" Exotic's lawyer Phillips said during the commercial.

However, Baskin has time and again debunked those claims. "I believe their actions are just a publicity stunt," Baskin told CNN via an email after the commercial was aired, "but if it helps us find Don, then that will be a huge relief."

Baskin has expressed her disgust with the Netflix storyline that claims she had something to do with Lewis' disappearance despite the fact that she was not a member of "Tiger King" Season 2.