Carole Baskin's Missing Husband's Will Was Forged, Hillsborough County Sheriff Says

Carole Baskin, left, has previously denied any involvement with the disappearence of her millionaire second husband, Don Lewis, right.
Carole Baskin, left, has previously denied any involvement with the disappearence of her millionaire second husband, Don Lewis, right. (Netflix/Handout)

Suspicions that Don Lewis’ will was forged was confirmed by local authorities Tuesday when Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said that it was “100% a forgery.” Lewis' will, discussed in the hit Netflix series "Tiger King," left the bulk of his fortune to his second wife, Carole Baskin.

“They had two experts deem it 100% a forgery two months ago,” Chronister told WTSP. “The girl who came forward said, ‘I was forced to say I witnessed these signatures.’”

Lewis disappeared in 1997 after leaving his home in Tampa, Florida. At the time, he was married to his second wife Baskin. He was declared dead five years after his disappearance, and many stars of “Tiger King,” including Joe Exotic, alleged Baskin was behind her disappearance. The Big Cat Rescue founder denied all claims.

But “Tiger King”’s success led to new interest in the case, and Chronister explained investigators are now actively following new leads.

“The kids had additional information that investigators weren’t aware of, we talked to the office manager, she started telling things they weren’t aware of,” Chronister told WTSP. “They’re going through a lot of information right now and fingers crossed, Rob, I hope we can finally solve this case.”

However, no action can be taken in light of the alleged forged will, Chronister said. “The problem is the statute of limitations, and the will had already been executed at that point,” he explained. “That’s the only reason there’s no recourse.

“But that certainly cast another shadow of suspicions,” Chronister said. 

Baskin told Inside Edition Digital: “All of the documents were authenticated by at least two expert firms and everyone involved in the conservatorship agreed by stipulation ratified by the court to their authenticity.” She also recommended visiting www.BigCatRescue.org/Netflix for more details.

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