Ex-wife of Carole Baskin’s handyman says he threatened her

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The ex-wife of Carole Baskin’s former handyman claims he previously threatened to put her in a meatgrinder like he did Don Lewis. 

Lewis, Baskin’s former husband, disappeared in 1997 and his body has never been found. 

During hit Netflix show Tiger King, her nemesis Joe Exotic claimed Baskin killed her husband, put him in a meat grinder and fed him to her tigers.  

Now Trish Farr-Payne has come forward in her first TV interview with CBS to claim that she believes Lewis did go in the meat grinder and that her former husband Kenny Farr played a role. 

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Trish Farr-Payne says in her first TV interview with '48 Hours Suspicion' that her former husband Kenny Farr brought home a large freezer with a padlock that disappeared around the time that Lewis was reported missing. She believes her husband could have been involved

Trish Farr-Payne says in her first TV interview with ’48 Hours Suspicion’ that her former husband Kenny Farr brought home a large freezer with a padlock that disappeared around the time that Lewis was reported missing. She believes her husband could have been involved

‘Kenny 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”,’ Farr-Payne says on ’48 Hours Suspicion’, which will air on Wednesday. 

‘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.’

Farr worked for Lewis and Baskin as a handyman for years and continued to do so  after Lewis’s disappearance. 

Yet his ex-wife claims that Farr knew that Lewis was gone even before he had been reported missing. 

She claims that around the time Lewis went missing, Farr arrived home with his boss’ van and guns. 

Farr-Payne alleges he said, ‘”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”.’

‘Did you ask him what he meant by, “Don’s gone?”‘ host Richard Schlesinger asks her.

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

She adds that she became more suspicious when Lewis was reported missing two days later. 

‘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,’ she says. 

‘I asked him, and he said, “Don’t ask me questions that you don’t want the answers to”.’

Kenny Farr appeared briefly in Tiger King and denied he was involved in Lewis' disappearance

Kenny Farr appeared briefly in Tiger King and denied he was involved in Lewis’ disappearance

Lewis - who started the animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue Corp. in Tampa, Florida, with Carole Baskin - vanished in 1997. His body was never found and he was declared dead in 2002

Lewis – who started the animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue Corp. in Tampa, Florida, with Carole Baskin – vanished in 1997. His body was never found and he was declared dead in 2002

Baskin says she gave Farr the guns long after Lewis disappeared, according to the Tampa Bay Times

Farr-Payne also claims that Farr brought home a large freezer with a padlock that also disappeared around the time that Lewis was reported missing. 

‘How long after Don disappeared did the freezer disappear?’ Schlesinger asks her.

‘About a week after Don disappeared,’ she admits.

She says she didn’t come forward sooner as she was scared of what would happen to her and her kids. 

‘I was afraid for my kids,’ Farr-Payne tells Schlesinger. 

‘You know, I had my kids. I was afraid for them. I was more afraid for them than anything.’  

Don Lewis' handyman Kenny Farr has been accused by his ex-wife of playing a role in his disappearance in 1997

Don Lewis’ handyman Kenny Farr has been accused by his ex-wife of playing a role in his disappearance in 1997

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Farr-Payne told the cops back in 2000 that she believed her husband was involved in Lewis’ disappearance. 

She came forward then after the couple had a violent fight and police were called to their home. 

Farr was arrested and eventually convicted of domestic violence and a gun charge. 

According to court records, Baskin and Farr transferred a half-dozen properties, back and forth, starting a months after Lewis disappeared. 

On the series, Farr denied knowing anything about what happened to Lewis and according to the Times, Tiger King director Rebecca Chaiklin said she was told by a former detective on the case that he had been given a lie detector test that showed he was not being deceptive.  

Don Lewis’ remains have never been found and there have been no criminal charges filed for his mysterious 1997 disappearance, although authorities have previously stated they don’t believe he disappeared on his own volition. 

Lewis – who started the animal sanctuary which later became Big Cat Rescue Corp. in Tampa, Florida, with Carole Baskin – vanished a day before a scheduled trip to Costa Rica.  

Baskin has continuously denied that she had any role in her husband’s disappearance and she has never been officially named as a suspect. 

In August, Lewis’ family filed a lawsuit against Baskin and offered a $100,000 reward for anyone with information about what happened to him over two decades ago.

The family is also targeting Farr, who appeared briefly in Tiger King, and a woman who witnessed the signing of Lewis’ will. 

Carole Baskin has never been an official suspect in Lewis' disappearance

Carole Baskin has never been an official suspect in Lewis’ disappearance

That woman, Susan A. Bradshaw, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2005 that Baskin told her to say she was there for the will signing however she claims she was not.

Farr has been accused by Lewis’ assistant Anne McQueen of helping Baskin to remove documents and dismantle his office just days after his disappearance. 

She said wouldn’t have done this if they believed Lewis was coming back.  

Tiger King tells the real-life story of a zoo owner Joe Exotic, who spirals out of control amid a cast of eccentric characters in a true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding.

A section of the show explores the controversy surrounding Joe Exotic’s nemesis Baskin and the disappearance of Jack ‘Don’ Lewis from Tampa in 1997.

He was formally declared dead in 2002. 

Shortly after his disappearance, Baskin – his wife at the time and the last known person to see him alive – produced his will and his power of attorney that gave her complete control of his $5 million estate. 

Carole is now married to Howard Baskin (pictured left) and she has not been charged in Lewis' disappearance

Carole is now married to Howard Baskin (pictured left) and she has not been charged in Lewis’ disappearance

Lewis’ former attorney has previously claimed that his client’s signature was forged on two documents that effectively surrendered his fortune to the Tiger King star after he vanished. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in June that experts had deemed the will was ‘100 percent a forgery’ although no culprit was named. 

Despite Baskin’s denials, the case quickly became one of the most discussed parts of the show as the internet was taken over by conspiracy theories.

Other theories included the blonde Texan burying his body under a septic tank, Don crashing his plane, and Don starting a new life in Costa Rica.

Baskin herself said she thinks Don either fled to Costa Rica, or he was thrown off a plane over the Gulf of Mexico. His car was recovered at an airfield in Pasco County.

Detectives have said there was no way one of Don’s private planes could have held enough fuel to take him all the way to Costa Rica, after Baskin said he would often fly below the radar because he had lost his pilot’s license.

Baskin has since married second husband Howard. 

On August 10, an attorney for the Lewis family announced the independent investigation into his death. 

‘We’re going to serve (Baskin) with a lawsuit, but not a lawsuit for damages, it’s a lawsuit for equity,’ said John Philips.

The bill of discovery would allow them to get information before deciding who to sue.

It means depositions or subpoenas could be in the cards. 

‘Generally you announce a $150 million lawsuit and how we’re going to get justice. And we are going to do all of that in time,’ Phillips continued. ‘But our office wants to invite reason, to invite civil conversation where it can be had.

The family of Lewis is offering $100,000 in exchange for information to help solve the case

The family of Lewis is offering $100,000 in exchange for information to help solve the case

'We're going to serve (Baskin) with a lawsuit, but not a lawsuit for damages, it's a lawsuit for equity,' the family's attorney John Phillips said in early August during the briefing

‘We’re going to serve (Baskin) with a lawsuit, but not a lawsuit for damages, it’s a lawsuit for equity,’ the family’s attorney John Phillips said in early August during the briefing

‘Resolving this case is in everyone’s best interest. I believe it’s in Carole Baskin’s best interest. I invite her to the table. I invite her to talk, and let us know what really happened.

‘I will ask one time, for civility. I will ask one time that we come together to find closure of this whole thing. If that can’t be done, I’m a lawyer. I sue people. We’ll go that route too. Make no mistake, if the family’s offer for civility is rejected, if the insults continue, the next step is to bring justice, because justice is love.’

The family has paid for Tampa-area billboards asking for information in the case.

‘We worked for weeks in raising this money,’ Lewis’ oldest daughter, Donna Pettis, said. 

‘An anonymous donor came forward guaranteeing the $100,000. We’re hoping that with these funds someone will have the courage to come forward and provide the information to solve this case.’

Lewis’ family has set up a tip line at (646) 450-6530.  

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