Jack "Don" Lewis Hasn't Been Seen since August 18, 1997
He disappeared almost without a single trace—neither police nor locals have had any sightings of him since that day more than 20 years ago.
Dec 4, 2020
His body has never been recovered. No remains at all have been found, not even partial remains as would have been the case if he had indeed crashed his airplane.
Ever since Don Lewis disappeared August 18, 1997, no body has been found. The police have not even been able to find partial remains.
Even though the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office followed leads for years, no body was recovered and the case remains unsolved to this day. The case is still open until they can find some proof of what actually happened to him.
Some speculate that if Carole Baskin killed him, she would have disposed of his body using the tigers. Others say that she might have buried him under a septic tank.
Law enforcement first treated the case as a run-of-the-mill missing persons case. But within a few weeks, they suspected foul play, according to one of the lead detectives.
The lack of remains or physical evidence make it very difficult to determine what actually happened to him.
After the mandated waiting period, Don was legally declared dead in 2002. There was never even a funeral for him.
August 19, 2002—exactly five years and a day after his disappearance—Carole Baskin had Don declared legally dead. After this, she was able to finally access his life insurance policy and his other assets.
Because of Carole's quick and determined nature on the death certificate, she was able to access his funds more easily. Between when he first disappeared and when he was legally declared dead, Carole moved property and assets around in that time so that she could take the bulk of his estate, his kids and ex-wife claim.
All of this was made possible through another type of sly maneuvering on Carole's part: she gave herself power of attorney over Don's estate after he had already gone missing.
Following his disappearance, Carole cut the lock to his office and took papers. Don's secretary claims that there were two wills and two power of attorneys—those both disappeared. The secretary says she was executor and power of attorney for both of them.
Instead, Carole produced a document granting her power of attorney. The strangest thing about the document? It includes the language of not only "in the event of my death" but "upon my disappearance."
That choice of language is bizarre because while everyone anticipates dying at some point, few people expect to disappear. "In 30 years, I've never seen that,” Don's attorney said in the documentary.
Carole never organized a funeral or memorial service for Don. There is not even a tombstone to mark his likely death.
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