Carole Baskin visited spouse Don Lewis's lawyer’s office to find doc that says he is 'alive and well'
TAMPA, FLORIDA: Carole Baskin whose multi-millionaire husband is considered to be dead after vanishing in 1997, has recently visited her late spouse's lawyer's office to search for a document that supposedly says he's alive and is living in Costa Rica. Baskin's husband, Don Lewis was legally declared dead in 2002, five years after disappearing without a trace. Authorities suspected foul play in his disappearance but they have never recovered any evidence to suggest Lewis was murdered.
His 61-year-old wife inherited Lewis' $5 million estate and has long denied any role in her husband's death. Baskin recently made the headlines last week an interview she gave on a British TV show in 2021 resurfaced where she made a shocking claim that her husband had been found "alive and well" living in Costa Rica. She said the discovery was made by Homeland Security and documented in a letter, which she was only made aware of after the airing of 'Tiger King' 2 on Netflix.
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However, her claim was backed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the agency in charge of Lewis' case, and was discredited by Lewis' family. Don Lewis' attorney and friend, Joe Fritz, told The Sun, that while he does buy the claims made by Baskin, the related existence of a document described by the animal rights activist, does not prove that Lewis is alive.
"First of all, it's a goddamn lie that [federal authorities] will say anything to anybody," he said. "Number two, nobody I know outside of police work has ever seen that document [...] I’ve known that it existed since before Tiger King, and we’ve asked for it but they won’t give it up. But that letter's existence is nothing new, it's just more bulls**t from Carole. I think the document does exist but I think it’s full of s**t. It’s not like they have a picture or a thumbprint of him. It’s just an old document from someone that worked for the federal government who thought he’d uncovered something when they hadn't."
Fritz disclosed that Baskin showed up at his office in Tampa, Florida just a few months ago, asking for a hard copy of the letter in question. "Interestingly enough, around Thanksgiving-ish time, Carole walked into my damn office," said Fritz, who was not present in his office at the time, but was let know about it by a staffer. "She walked into my office and wanted to know if I had a copy of that report. She’d asked Homeland Security, but they wouldn’t give her one; she went to the sheriff’s office, they wouldn’t give her one. She won’t get one anywhere in the world. Nobody will give her a copy and they’re not going to give anyone a copy. I've gotta be careful what I say [...] but a better question is why would she want that report? She's been looking for it presumably because she wants it for a defense if anything is ever charged against her or anybody else."
Why did Carole Baskin want to see the letter?
Carole Baskin did confirm the fact that she visited Fritz's office late last year in search of the letter. "I never knew the Homeland Security report existed until I saw it in Tiger King 2 in November 2021," her written statement began. "Since Joseph Fritz was the person presenting the document in the show, I figured he would probably have a copy of it, so I went to his office to see if I could meet with him, but he never called me back even though I left my business card."
The CEO of Big Cat Rescue did not however answer the question of whether there was a specific reason she wanted to see the letter, other than out of curiosity. Meanwhile, Fritz said that he came to know of a potential sighting of Lewis in Costa Rica during a heated phone call with the sheriff's office's lead investigator when Lewis vanished initially. "I made a comment about something insulting their handling of the investigation," Fritz said, "and the detective got on the phone and just basically started chewing me out, and let slip that he was having to deal with some federal report that Don was seen in Costa Rica that he had to overcome. That was the first indication I had that they may have found something, but that was years ago and it clearly it turned out to be nothing."