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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, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board as a chief organizer of the Television Critics Association’s press tours, held twice a year in Beverly Hills and Pasadena. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and the Desert Aids Project, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been an active member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.