Don Lewis

New Details Emerge In The 1997 Disappearance Of Don Lewis

The mystery of Don Lewis’ disappearance has remained unsolved since he vanished back in 1997. Twenty-three years later, Netflix released “Tiger King,” a story about the rivalry between Lewis’ wife and animal rights activist Carole Baskin and big cat owner Joe Exotic, which sparked renewed interest in the case. In the docuseries, Exotic claimed that Baskin had murdered her husband and fed him to their tigers, but Baskin has denied those allegations, and Lewis’ body has yet to be found.

Now, in an on-camera interview, the ex-wife of a former employee for Carole Baskin has come forward with claims that her ex-husband Kenny Farr may somehow be connected to the mysterious disappearance of Don Lewis.

Farr was a handyman who worked with Lewis and Baskin for several years, helping to take care of their animals.

Trish Farr-Payne, his ex-wife, says that he was a violent man and their relationship was tumultuous. Around the time of Lewis’ disappearance, Payne tells “48 Hours Suspicion” that Farr had come home during the middle of the night with Lewis’ van. She explained that inside the vehicle were a pile of guns that Farr reportedly told her belonged to Lewis.

When Trish asked Kenny about the guns, she states that he replied, “‘Listen … I’m hangin’ on to these right now for Carole.’ But — he said, ‘Don’s gone. And — I don’t want you talkin’ about him. If anybody calls, you don’t say anything about Don.’ I’m, like, ‘OK.'”

“48 Hours” correspondent Richard Schlesinger then asked, “Did you ask him what he meant by, “Don’s gone?'”

“No, not right then,” she replied. “Because … he would blow up real easy at me … I just didn’t question it.”

Two days later, Baskin reported Lewis missing.

Trish says that it wasn’t until after she heard the news on TV that Lewis was missing that she realized that her then-husband told her “Don’s gone” before he had been reported missing.

“Everything started kinda coming together.  Kenny’s got Don’s van. Kenny’s got Don’s guns. Don’s gone, and I knew Don was gone the day before he was supposedly missing. It — something wasn’t right,” Farr-Payne explained.
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When Trish confronted her husband about Don’s disappearance, she said that he replied,” Don’t ask me questions that you don’t want the answers to.'”
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Around that time, she also claims that a deep freezer with a padlock magically appeared on their porch then vanished a week after Don disappeared.
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But later, during an argument, Trish claims Kenny threatened to kill her.
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“[He] had threatened to put me in a grinder, he said, ‘If you try to leave me again, I’m gonna put you in the grinder, like I did Don'” she says.
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“In a meat grinder?” asked Schlesinger.
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“Yeah,” said Farr-Payne.
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When asked about her thoughts on Kenny threatening her life, she stated, “I thought he was tellin’ the truth. At that time. I thought you know, at least that is probably the turnin’ point where I knew—I knew deep down that Kenny has some part in Don’s not ever coming back. I knew then for sure.”
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Trish did not go to the police out of fear and worry for her two children. It wasn’t until another incident between the former couple that led to Kenny’s arrest and conviction that Trish told the sheriff’s detectives the entire story.
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Carole Baskin decided against an interview with “48 Hours Suspicion,” but informed the Tampa Bay Times that she gave Kenny the collection of guns way after Don had vanished and claimed she does not believe that he is in any way involved with his disappearance.

Don Lewis

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