The story of “Tiger King” star Joe Exotic and his hunch that his rival Carole Baskin had an alleged hand in the disappearance and presumed death of her husband Don Lewis was taken up a notch on Sunday night during an Investigation Discovery special centered on the unanswered question of what happened to the tiger breeder and amateur pilot.
Jim Rathmann, a retired homicide investigator, told Fox News that cadaver dogs were brought in to aid in the search near one of Lewis’ lake houses and said he can’t possibly fathom what his family might be going through nearly 25 years after Lewis went missing.
“That area near the lake house is going to be explored further,” Rathmann said. “So there’s a lot of information that we’re going to reveal that that hasn’t been heard and that a lot of people are going to be surprised when they see this thing.
Rathmann is leading an investigation to discover the truth, revealing new theories uncovered by private investigators, reliving Lewis’s final days and demeanor with those closest to him, and unpacking evidence exposed by criminal and legal experts in the ID special “Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-Up,” a three-part extravaganza that aired its first two on Sunday.
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The ex-homicide investigator said the special will provide viewers “a great opportunity” to really let them be the jury, so to speak, on whether there is [Carole Baskin] involvement or not.”
“You know, it’s amazing. 23 years this case was completely unheard of other than the very initial stages,” Rathmann said. “Completely unheard of. And then everybody watched that Joe Exotic saga several months ago [on Netflix] and boom, this is on a worldwide stage. Everybody’s focused on it.”
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“As an investigator, obviously, there’s a lot of people watching and everybody wants their information and wants to know what’s going on,” Rathmann said of the daunting quest to unearth answers into the Lewis’ disappearance.
“But you let the facts take you where you’ve got to go with the case itself. And unfortunately, we’re 23 years late to the game so that presents a lot of challenges in an investigation. But we’ve been fortunate enough to overcome a lot of those hurdles and get some really revealing information that we’re going to be able to display on this three-hour special.”
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Baskin, a big cat enthusiast who is the archnemesis of Exotic, has maintained her innocence since Lewis went missing in 1997