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The disappearance of Carole Baskin’s then-husband Don Lewis

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Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA Press


An inside look at the puzzling 1997 cold case disappearance of the Florida millionaire.

Carole Baskin’s then-husband, millionaire Don Lewis, was reported missing on August 19, 1997. At the time, he and Carole were married and living in Tampa, Florida.

Denied Allegations

Carole Baskin

Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA Press


Carole Baskin has repeatedly denied she had anything to do with Don Lewis’ disappearance. 

Don’s First Marriage

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Donna Pettis


Don Lewis was married to Gladys Lewis when he first met Carole in 1981. Gladys and Don raised a family [pictured]. Their daughters say they had a happy childhood and that their father had a passion for animals. “We had a variety of animals,” Gale Rathbone, Don’s youngest daughter, told “48 Hours.” “We would come home from school, and there’d be a baby alligator swimming in the bathtub.”

Numerous Affairs

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Gale Rathbone


But not everything was perfect in the Lewis household. Don’s first wife Gladys says her husband had multiple affairs – including a nearly 10-year affair with Carole. In 1990, nearly 10 years after Don and Carole first met, Gladys and Don divorced.

A New Marriage

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Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA Press


A year later, in 1991, Don married Carole and they eventually founded Wildlife on Easy Street, an animal sanctuary where they raised tigers and other exotic animals.

Trouble in Paradise

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Gale Rathbone


But Don and Carole Lewis ended up having a troubled marriage, too. They disagreed over what to do with their animals. While Don wanted to breed and sell, Carole was against that and wanted to focus on rescuing.

Don Disappears

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WTSP

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