Sheriff's Tampa Office Gets Calls on Tiger King Cold Case

TAMPA -- Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister says detectives have gotten about a half dozen calls a day on average, since he started asking for clues in the 1997 disappearance of the husband of Carole Baskin, a tiger rescuer featured in the documentary "Tiger King" as a rival of Joe Exotic.

Chronister decided to assign an investigator to the case after seeing the strong response to the show, as people stream more TV to deal with social distancing.

In a virtual news conference attended by representatives of TMZ, Access Hollywood, the New York Daily News, nd other national media, Chronister took questions from reporters on the will left behind by Don Lewis, which he referenced in an interview on WFLA's "AM Tampa Bay" Tuesday morning. "Have you ever crafted a will that said,'if I disappear, give all my money to whomever that person might be'," Chronister mused. He noted that a person who vouched for the will's authenticity later changed their story.

Chronister referenced theories advanced on the show about Lewis' fate, such as his body being fed into a meat grinder... or to tigers. He pointed out that DNA forensics were nowhere near as sophisticated in 1997. The sheriff says Lewis' children have given DNA samples in the hope that remains found in the future may show a match.

Chronister said Baskin refused a polygraph in 2011 on legal advice, saying it wouldn't exonerate her.

Baskin cooperated with the making of Tiger King but has since denounced the documentary as "salacious."

Listen to AM Tampa Bay's interview with Sheriff Chronister

Photo Credit: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Hillsborough Sheriff Taking New Leads In Tiger King Case (Audio)  - Thumbnail Image

Hillsborough Sheriff Taking New Leads In Tiger King Case (Audio)

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