| Last updated
An ex-boyfriend of Carole Baskin has spoken out about his experience of living with the Tiger King star following her first husband's disappearance, while his son has spilled on a "big cement slab" he claims he once found in the woods while staying on the premises.
The theory that Carole killed her millionaire husband, Don Lewis, to claim his fortune is central to Joe Maldonado-Passage's hate campaign against her, and following the smash-hit docu-series, is now widely believed by many, even though the police have never found any evidence against Carole - who vehemently denies the allegations - or charged her with any crime.
One theory Joe Exotic and his cronies floated on the show was that she put Don in a sceptic tank under their rescue centre (though, this tank has never been proven to exist), while another, posed by both Joe and Don's ex wife and children, was that ground his body in a meat grinder and fed him to the tigers. Again, this is a claim Carole flatly denies.
But Alan Schreier, 70, said he wasn't deterred by the allegations about the animal activist when he met her in 1999 - a year and a half after Don went missing.
"I was on a couple of dating sites in the late 90s and one day I got this email from Carole saying: 'I know you but I don't think you know me, but if you want to know me I'm in People magazine this week'," Alan recalled.
"At first I thought it was one of my friends playing a prank, so I went and bought the magazine and read about how she has one of the world's largest collections of big cats and how people have accused her of killing her husband, but it was never proven."
Alan was in a relationship with the animal rights activist between 1999 and 2001, and even moved in to join her on the sanctuary after two months of dating.
During this time, he enquired more about her first marriage to Don - who has since been declared dead, as his body was never found, revealing she spoke openly about the incident as it was "still fresh".
"She told me that Don hung around some 'unsavoury people,'" he said.
"She said he used to carry a lot of money around on him and she thought maybe somebody did something to him, perhaps kidnapped or killed him.
"Their marriage was faltering towards the end. She told me they were not getting along at all."
Tiger King retraced Don's steps around the time of his disappearance, reporting that his van was found at an airfield and he had contacts in Costa Rica.
While Carole may have opened up about the incident to Alan, his son, Todd - who was then 15 and living with them at Big Cat Rescue - was not prithee to any information about her past.
Reflecting on the scandal of Don Lewis' disappearance, he alleged: "I never spoke with her about her ex-husband.
"But there was a big cement slab in the middle of the woods. That didn't make sense to me."
Beyond his suspicions about Don Lewis, Todd, now 36, does not have fond memories of Joe Exotic's nemesis.
"Carole always made it very clear that she didn't want me there. She hates people, she flat out told me that she hated me," he said.
"She never really spoke to me and I made sure I was out of the house as much as possible.
"I was never allowed to have any friends over. She really doesn't like people, just the cats.
"Her daughter Jamie was very sweet, but Carole made her live alone. Jamie had to totally take care of herself."
He went on: "Life there was so uncomfortable and weird for me. She and my dad had their own side of the house and I wasn't allowed in there at all.
"I used a separate bathroom. One day I came home and there was a bobcat in my bathroom. That was the only time I used their bathroom, dad said it was a special needs bobcat that Carole was taking care of.
"After I'd been living there for about ten months I went to live with my grandmother because I felt so unwelcome.
"Carole really does care about the cats though, in a very creepy, weird way. They're her whole life, 24/7. But she doesn't care about human beings at all, she's cold as ice. Totally emotionless."
Carole and Alan's relationship eventually broke down in 2001, and he and Todd moved out.
"We didn't have a fight or a big blow out," he reflected. "But one day, out of the blue, I came home and she said: 'I don't think we're going to make it, I don't see a future for us.'
"It was right before Thanksgiving, she caught me totally off guard. I had plans to visit my brother for Thanksgiving and when I got back she had packed up all my stuff, about 30 boxes, and she just told me to move out.
"So I moved out and we haven't spoken a word to each other since."
Carole has been approached for comment on Alan and Todd's comments during interview, but has not yet responded.
Since Tiger King aired, the animal activist has spoken out on the "salacious and sensational" documentary, and maintained that she did everything she could to help police in their search for Don.
In a statement posted on her website, Carole explained that filmmakers came to her five years ago with the idea of making "the big cat version of Blackfish" (the documentary which explored the abuse at SeaWorld) but "did not do any of that", instead, she says filmmakers had "the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers."
Carole went on to discredit the testimony of her accusers in the documentary.
"As [Don's ex-wife] Gladys and the daughters did everything they could to make life difficult for me after Don disappeared, they spread this rumor that they thought I had ground Don up and fed him to the cats. And the media loved it," she wrote.
"The meat grinder shown in the video was enormous. Our meat grinder was one of those little tabletop, hand crank things, like you'd have in your kitchen at home... The idea that a human body and skeleton could be put through it is idiotic. But the Netflix directors did not care. They just showed a bigger grinder."
You can read Carole's full blog post here.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read