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Tiger King: New witness in disappearance of Carole Baskin's first husband Don Lewis speaks out

Don Lewis went missing in 1997 and was declared legally dead five years later

Isobel Lewis
Wednesday 16 September 2020 09:48 BST
Tiger King's Carole Baskin joins Dancing with the Stars

A new witness has come forward in the case made famous by Tiger King regarding the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s husband.

Netflix’s hugely popular documentary series was centred in the world of private big cat owners, with one episode focusing on the mystery surrounding animal rights activist Baskin and her second husband Don Lewis, who went missing in 1997.

While Tiger King sees zoo-owner Joe Exotic claim that his rival Baskin was involved in her husband’s death, she has always denied this and is not a suspect or person of interest in the still-open case.

However, a new clue has emerged as part of a CBS report titled The Tiger King Mystery, which will air in the US on Wednesday (9 September).

The investigation features an interview with Trish Farr-Payne, whose ex-husband Kenny Farr was a handyman who worked for Lewis and Baskin in the years surrounding Lewis’s disappearance. Farr appears as a talking head in Tiger King.

A picture of Baskin (right) with second husband Don Lewis and her daughter, Jamie (Netflix)

Farr-Payne alleges that around the time Lewis vanished, Farr – who she claims was often violent to her – arrived home in the middle of night in Lewis’s van. The van was said to contain a collection of guns which her then-husband told her belonged to Lewis.

When questioned about the weapons, Farr-Payne recalls Farr replying: “‘Listen… I'm hangin' onto these right now for Carole… Don's gone. I don't want you talkin' about him. If anybody calls, you don't say anything about Don.'”

Lewis was officially reported missing two days later, with Farr-Payne explaining: "Everything started kinda coming together. Kenny's got Don's van. Kenny's got Don's guns. Don's gone and I knew Don was gone the day before he was supposedly missing. Something wasn't right."

She also alleges that in the same few weeks, a large freezer with a padlock appeared on her porch only to later disappear, with Farr reportedly telling his wife: “‘Don't ask me questions that you don't want the answers to.'”

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Baskin on Netflix’s ‘Tiger King' (Netflix)

Another incident recalled in the documentary sees Farr-Payne claim that Farr once threatened her with the words: “'If you try to leave me again, I'm gonna put you in the grinder, like I did Don.'"

CBS was unable to reach Kenny Farr for comment.

Baskin has previously stated that she gave Farr the guns long after Don vanished and that she doesn't believe he had anything to do with her husband's disappearance, writing on her website earlier this year that she loves him "like a son”.

Baskin was recently announced as a contestant on the forthcoming US series of Dancing with the Stars.

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