Hillsborough detective on Don Lewis ‘Tiger King’ disappearance case will answer questions

The second husband of Tampa’s Carole Baskin has been missing since 1997. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office plans a news conference.
Jack "Don" Lewis in 1997, the year he vanished from Tampa without a trace.
Jack "Don" Lewis in 1997, the year he vanished from Tampa without a trace. [ Handout ]
Published Nov. 17, 2021|Updated Nov. 18, 2021
Related: UPDATE: Sheriff's detective explains search for Don Lewis since 'Tiger King'

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will hold a news conference Thursday at 10 a.m. to discuss the case of Jack “Don” Lewis, whose story was made famous by the Netflix documentary Tiger King.

The news conference will be held over Zoom, a sheriff’s spokesperson said, and will feature the lead detective assigned to Lewis case, Corporal Moises Garcia.

The sequel, Tiger King 2, was released today at 3 a.m., despite a legal fight mounted by Lewis’ former wife, Carole Baskin, to stop it. Baskin remarried and still runs Big Cat Rescue in Tampa.

The sheriff’s office update comes 19 months after the original Tiger King documentary became a pandemic-lockdown hit. Lewis was a Tampa millionaire who vanished in 1997, leaving a wife and dozens of big cats at their animal sanctuary.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the days after Tiger King’s release that his agency was reviving its investigation into Lewis’ disappearance and reviewing case files from 1997. He said he’d assigned a detective supervisor to handle the many tips coming in after Tiger King premiered.

New detectives questioned old witnesses in the case, but there has been no official public update on the investigation since.

The intervening months brought lawsuits against Baskin by Lewis’ surviving children, multiple television specials about the case on other networks and Baskin competing on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars.

Earlier this week, a new billboard advertisement went up over Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa’s Carrollwood neighborhood with a phone number seeking tips in the Lewis case.

Related: Judge won't rule in time to stop 'Tiger King 2' premiere