The will of Carole Baskin’s missing husband was “100 per cent a forgery”, the Florida sheriff who is investigating the case has revealed.
Carole Baskin’s late husband Don Lewis mysteriously disappeared in 1997 and was declared legally dead in 2002. His family were cut out of his will, leaving his wife with over $5 million in assets including his animal sanctuary in Tampa, Florida.
The case was thrust back into the public eye thanks to the hit Netflix documentary Tiger King, which tells the bizarre story of gay redneck tiger breeder Joe Exotic and his bitter rivalry with Baskin.
Exotic, now in prison for plotting to kill Baskin, has long claimed his nemesis murdered her late husband and fed him to their tigers. No evidence of Lewis being killed has ever surfaced but investigators believe it is unlikely that he disappeared on his own.
It appears the full story has yet to unfold, though, as a Florida sheriff has now stated that Lewis’s will was a forgery.
The Clarion-Ledger reports that the notary listed on the will and a power of attorney document remembers nothing about authenticating them.
“I don’t remember a will at all,” Sandra Wittkopp told the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. “I was the housekeeper.”
Another purported signer of the will, Susan Aronoff, had already told deputies that she falsely testified to being present for the will signing, when she actually wasn’t.
Furthermore, two separate handwriting experts have now concluded Lewis’ signature was “traced” from his 1991 marriage record. These reports were confirmed by Hillsborough County sheriff Chad Chronister.
“They called in some experts to say that the will was a forgery and I had already told them that two months ago,” Chronister told 10 Tampa Bay. “They had two experts deem it 100 per cent a forgery.”
However, the will has already been executed and the statute of limitations has now expired, meaning that it’s unlikely that prosecutors can pursue any charges relating to the will.
“The will had already been executed at that point,” Chronister explained. “But, it certainly cast another shadow of suspicion, by all means.”
It’ll certainly be welcome news to Joe Exotic, who recently learned that Baskin has been awarded control of his 16-acre zoo.