Sheriff confirms will of Tiger King star Carole Baskin's missing husband was forged
Somewhere in a federal prison, Joe Exotic is saying, "I knew it!"
There's been a new twist in the Tiger King epic: A Florida sheriff has declared that the will of Carole Baskin's missing husband, Don Lewis, was forged.
“They called in some experts to say that the will was a forgery and I had already told them that two months ago,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Tuesday to 10 Tampa Bay. “They had two experts deem it 100% a forgery."
Lewis was reportedly a multi-millionaire when he mysteriously vanished in 1997 and was later declared dead in 2002. Netflix's docuseries raised suspicions that Lewis' will might not have been legitimate. The new will reportedly left Lewis' wealth to Baskin and cut out his family. Baskin has repeatedly denied knowing anything about Lewis' disappearance.
A report in the Clarion-Ledger newspaper said the notary listed on the will and power of attorney did not remember authenticating the documents. The paper also said that two handwriting experts had determined Lewis' signature was "traced" from a previous document.
Chronister noted that the statute of limitations had expired, so criminal charges could not be filed against anybody for a fraudulent will.
The case of Lewis' disappearance, however, remains open.
"Investigators have some great leads," Chronister told 10 Tampa Bay. "They're working through them. I hope something pans out."
"Don was not easy to live with and like most couples, we had our moments. But I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance," Baskin wrote in a statement refuting claims from the Netflix series. "When he disappeared, I did everything I could to assist the police. I encouraged them to check out the rumors from Costa Rica, and separately I hired a private investigator."
Earlier this week, Baskin won control of Joe Exotic's former 16-acre zoo in Oklahoma as part of her lawsuit settlement against the imprisoned Tiger King star. Baskin had sued Exotic for trademark infringement.