“In my view, there’s no question but that he was murdered,” Joseph Fritz told Nancy Grace of Fox Nation, adding that Lewis loved his tigers and “never would have just walked away from them ― ever.”
Lewis went missing in 1997. His vehicle was discovered at a private airport, but no trace of him was ever found and he was eventually declared dead.
Fritz said Lewis was cheap despite his wealth and may have been lured to the airport with the promise of a good deal on a plane. He also said Lewis tended to fly low to avoid radar detection because his pilot’s license had been revoked.
“What I had heard was that he was strangled from the backseat of an airplane over the Gulf [of Mexico] at 50 feet and dropped out over the Gulf,” Fritz told “A Tiger King Investigation.”
Fritz also predicted that whoever did it would eventually be caught.
“One day one of these people is going to stub their toe and want a get-out-of-jail-free card and that’s when something’s going to happen,” he said.
Fritz did not name any suspects.
“I don’t know who is a murderer and who is not a murderer,” he said. “But I know who is a liar. And I can definitively state that that somebody is lying about it.”
The disappearance of Lewis spawned some of the sensational allegations detailed in the “Tiger King” series, including a music video by Joe Exotic, the show’s central figure, suggesting Baskin killed her husband and fed him to the tigers. Baskin has denied any involvement in her ex-husband’s disappearance, and slammed the Netflix series for spreading “lies and innuendos from people who are not credible.” She is not considered a suspect or a person of interest.
Police say they still want to know what happened.
“I’m extremely suspicious, but not just of her, of this whole circle here,” Hillsborough County (Fla.) Sheriff Chad Chronister told TMZ earlier this month. “I don’t want to allude to the fact or insinuate that she’s a person of interest and that this is who we are focusing on. I’m not comfortable saying that yet.”
Chronister said he believes that if Lewis was killed there were several people involved. He urged all guilty parties to come forward.
“Deals are cut and every deal is on the table right now,” he said. “Help us solve this case.”
Joe Exotic ― real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage ― is currently serving a 22-year-prison sentence for attempting to hire someone to kill Baskin, among other charges.