’48 Hours Suspicion: The Tiger King Mystery’ uncovers shocking new details in the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s former husband, Don Lewis

Author: 48 Hours Suspicion, CBS News
Published: Updated:
Carole Baskin (48 Hours Suspicion/CBS News)

Richard Schlesinger and “48 Hours Suspicion” uncover startling new information linked to the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s former husband, Don Lewis, in the special series premiere episode, “The Tiger King Mystery,” to be broadcast Wednesday, September 9 at 10/9c on CBS.

The nation was captivated earlier this year with the Netflix hit series “Tiger King,” about an Oklahoma-based eccentric big-cat owner named Joe Exotic and his epic battle with Tampa-based animal rights activist Carole Baskin. Throughout the series and on his own YouTube channel, Joe Exotic, the self-proclaimed Tiger King, claimed Baskin had murdered her former husband, Don Lewis, in 1997. He also made the sensational allegation that Baskin fed Lewis to their tigers. Lewis’ body has never been found. Baskin has strongly denied the allegations and Hillsborough County, Florida, Sheriff Chad Chronister has said that Baskin is neither a suspect nor a person of interest in the case.

Carole Baskin and Don Lewis (TAMPA BAY TIMES/ZUMA PRESS)

Now, in her first television interview, Trish Farr-Payne claims her ex-husband Kenny Farr may have been connected to Lewis’ disappearance. Kenny Farr was a handyman who worked for Lewis and Baskin.

Farr-Payne tells Richard Schlesinger that two days before Lewis was reported missing, Farr told her: “Don’s gone, and I don’t want you talking about him.”

Farr-Payne also tells Schlesinger that a large, padlocked freezer appeared on her front porch and soon vanished.

“How long after Don disappeared did the freezer disappear?” Schlesinger asks.

“About a week after Don disappeared,” Farr-Payne says.

She tells “48 Hours Suspicion” she waited years to tell police about her suspicions involving the freezer and other key information revealed in the Wednesday, September 9 broadcast.

Trish Farr-Payne (CBS NEWS)

“I was afraid for my kids,” Farr-Payne tells Schlesinger. “You know, I had my kids. I was afraid for them. I was more afraid for them than anything.”

“48 Hours Suspicion” was unable to reach Kenny Farr for comment.

“48 Hours Suspicion: The Tiger King Mystery” also features interviews with Lewis’ ex-wife, Lewis’ three daughters and more.

“48 Hours Suspicion” is a new limited-run series from the team at CBS News’ award-winning true-crime series “48 Hours.” Broadcast Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS, the series features intriguing cases where people live under suspicion, but the truth is often elusive. 

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