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TMZ reports the 57-year-old—legal name Joseph Maldonado-Passage—reached out to Lewis' family and offered to provide any information that may assist the renewed search for the millionaire. Lewis was married to Baskin at the time of his 1997 disappearance and was declared legally dead five years later. The case was thrust into the national spotlight this year when it was featured in the wildly popular docuseries, Tiger King.
Joe consistently claimed Baskin was involved with Lewis' disappearance and propagated unofficial theories she had killed her husband and fed his body to the tigers at her animal sanctuary. Baskin, who has denied the allegations, slammed Tiger King producers for focusing on Joe's so-called "lies."
"[Tiger King] has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don in 1997," she wrote on the Big Cat Rescue website earlier this year. "The series presents this without any regard for the truth or in most cases even giving me an opportunity before publication to rebut the absurd claims. They did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers."
Following the Tiger King premiere, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Florida announced they would reopen Lewis' case, stating the show's popularity could result in credible leads.
Last week, Lewis' three daughters confirmed they had filed a lawsuit against Baskin and announced a $100,000 reward for any information that helps locate Lewis.
"Amazingly, our little family tragedy has become your tragedy. Our search for closure and truth has become your mission also," Lewis' youngest daughter, Gale Rathbone, said during a Monday press conference. "We all know by now that [Lewis] was not a perfect man. But do only the perfect among us deserve justice? ... For 23 years, I’ve gone to bed every night knowing the only chance I have of seeing him again is in my dreams. For 23 years, I’ve woken every morning to the heartbreak of his strange disappearance."