Carole Baskin’s husband Don Lewis was put in the meatgrinder by her handyman, his ex-wife claims
In '48 Hours Suspicion', Trish Farr-Payne, whose former husband Kenny Farr worked for Baskin and Lewis, said Farr had 'threatened to put me in a grinder' just as he 'did Don'
A longtime employee of Carol Baskin has claimed her husband was put into a meat grinder around the time of his disappearance in 1997. Speaking to '48 Hours Suspicion', Trish Farr-Payne, whose former husband Kenny Farr worked for Baskin and Don Lewis, said Farr had “threatened to put me in a grinder," adding, “'If you try to leave me again, I’m gonna put you in the grinder, like I did Don.'”
“I thought he was tellin’ the truth,” Farr-Payne commented. “At that time. I thought you know, at least that is probably the turnin’ point where I knew–I knew deep down that Kenny has some part in Don’s not ever coming back. I knew then for sure.”
Around the time Lewis went missing, Farr allegedly arrived home in the middle of the night in Lewis' van. According to Farr-Payne, the van contained guns that her then-husband said belonged to Lewis and Baskin had instructed him to hold onto the firearms for a while.
Before Lewis disappeared, Farr-Payne alleges her husband told her, “Don’s gone. And — I don’t want you talkin’ about him. If anybody calls, you don’t say anything about Don.”
Around the time Lewis vanished, a large freezer with a padlock was placed on their porch. Farr-Payne told '48 Hours Suspicion' the freezer was moved a week after Lewis disappeared.
Farr-Payne also alleged that she and Farr had a violent altercation -- three years after his revelation -- and that the police had to be called eventually. Farr would be convicted of domestic violence and a gun charge, and around the same time Farr-Payne told police about Lewis' disappearance.
Lewis was last seen in 1997, leaving his Tampa, Florida, residence. Hillsborough County police, however, have said Baskin is not a suspect in her ex-husband’s disappearance despite claims made by Farr-Payne and 'Tiger King' star Joe Exotic whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage. Farr continued to work for Baskin after Lewis went missing.
Baskin lashed out against Farr-Payne's claims in a statement she issued September 8, The Wrap reported. "I’ve caught Trish Farr-Payne in enough lies about her ever visiting Big Cat Rescue and her description of the meat grinder to cause me to believe she’s just seeking attention post-Tiger King and is using her 15 minutes to bash her ex," Baskin said. "I don’t ever recall her visiting the grounds and her description of the meat grinder was ludicrous and clearly fabricated. Anyone can watch our hundreds of videos and describe our grounds whether they have been there or not."
“If she really feared for her life, and that of her children, wouldn’t she have called the police if she thought her husband had Don Lewis’s body locked in a freezer on her porch?” she continued.
“It appears to be more about selling ad space than reporting the truth. My challenge to you is to seek out and tell the truth and see if being different from the lemmings doesn’t prove better for you and your company in the long run. People want to be able to believe in reporters again," Baskin concluded.