Carole Baskin's possible involvement in the death of her former husband, Don Lewis, will be explored by Richard Schlesinger on Wednesday, Sept. 9's premiere of 48 Hours Suspicion's premiere episode, "The Tiger King Mystery," airing at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. The special will feature new theories into Lewis' disappearance and shocking interviews with those closest to him, including Lewis' ex-wife and three daughters.
Baskin, a Tampa-based animal rights activist who became the intended victim of a murder-for-hire plot of Oklahoma big cat enthusiast and failed presidential candidate Joe Exotic, has been accused publicly by Exotic of having murdered her former husband in 1997 after he disappeared, never to be seen again. Despite Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister assuring CBS News Baskin was neither a suspect nor person of interest in the case, in addition to Baskin's staunch denial, the theory that she killed Lewis and fed him to her tigers is one that has been popularized through the premiere of Netflix docuseries Tiger King earlier this year.
In 48 Hours Suspicion, Trish Farr-Payne claims in her first television interview that her ex-husband, Kenny Farr, may have been connected to Lewis' disappearance after working as a handyman for both he and Baskin. In a preview of Wednesday's special, Farr-Payne tells Schlesinger that two days before Lewis was reported missing, her ex told her, "Don's gone, and I don't want you talking about him." She also alleges that a large, padlocked freezer was briefly stored on her porch before it vanished.
"How long after Don disappeared did the freezer disappear?" Schlesinger asks. "About a week after Don disappeared," Farr-Payne responds. Asked why she has waited until now to come forward with her knowledge, Farr-Paye says, "I was afraid for my kids. You know, I had my kids. I was afraid for them. I was more afraid for them than anything."
Baskin, meanwhile, is preparing to take on the ballroom as a competitor on ABC's Dancing With the Stars Season 29, premiering on Sept. 14. Ahead of her dancing debut, the Big Cat Rescue founder told PEOPLE that Tiger King was a complete "assassination" of her character.
"I am not at all the person I was portrayed in Tiger King," she told the outlet. "I am not the money-grubbing, gold-digging, murderous person that they portrayed. I am the type of person who will come after any person who is abusing animals. I am relentless. I just won’t stop until I find some legal way to make it stop. From that perspective, I think they got me right. Me as a person, that was a total assassination of my character for nothing other than whatever money they could get for selling that to Netflix."