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‘Tiger King’: Tampa Authorities Receive Slew of Tips on Cold Case Amid Netflix Frenzy

Tampa authorities on Tuesday confirmed tips have been rolling in daily concerning a cold case featured in the wildly popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister addressed local media regarding the disappearance of Jack Donald “Don” Lewis, saying the sheriff held a meeting on Monday regarding the case and will be reviewing “a lot of the evidence,” Tampa’s WFLA 8 news reports. The sheriff also said his office was getting at least six tips a day.

Chronister on Monday asked for new leads amid all the interest in the show; the 1997 disappearance of Lewis is part of the series that revolves around the bizarre tale of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka “Joe Exotic,” a former tiger-zoo owner who is currently in prison for a murder-for-hire plot.

A multimillionaire, Lewis was married to animal rights activist Carole Baskin, and together they ran a wildlife sanctuary in Tampa when he vanished in August 1997. Baskin has since spoken out about the Netflix documentary series and called it “disappointing.”

Maldonado-Passage, sentenced to 22 years after being convicted of trying to hire a hitman to murder Baskin, claims in Tiger King that Lewis was murdered and fed to his own wild cats.

Baskin denies the accusations. On Tuesday, the sheriff confirmed Baskin said her attorney told her to refuse a polygraph test, WFLA reported.

Authorities interviewed for the series say there was no evidence to support Maldonado-Passage’s claim. There are currently no persons of interest.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at The Hollywood Times, a showbiz/promotions aggregate mainly for insiders. She has written for Communications Daily in DC, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International in NYC. Valerie works closely with GLSEN, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign (Fed Club Council Member), LAMBDA Legal, NCLR, and Outfest. She is also a member of the LA Press Club. She is a lay minister and parishioner of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hollywood. Milano loves meeting people and does so in her getaway home in Palm Springs as a member of the Palm Springs Museum, Palm Springs Center and DAP Health (Partners for Life member). For years Valerie Milano had volunteered as a board member and one of the chief organizers for the Television Critics Association’s press tours. The tours take place twice a year in Beverly Hills/Pasadena.