Everybody’s looking for stuff to do during this coronavirus pandemic, and Sheriff Chad Chronister from Hillsborough County Florida has apparently decided to take some time to take another look at the 1997 disappearance of Jack “Don” Lewis, husband of animal rights activist Carole Baskin. A man named Joe Maldonado-Passage, who is reportedly somewhat exotic, is currently in prison for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin, and he claims that Baskin actually murdered Lewis and fed him to his own pet tigers. If this sounds a little familiar, it’s probably because you’ve been on Netflix—or literally anywhere on the internet—in the past week or two, because Lewis’ disappearance is a big part of the hot new documentary series Tiger King.
Chronister posted on Twitter that it’s “a good time to ask for new leads” in the case, packing his tweet with way more hashtags than a potential murder really warrants, but he makes no effort to hide the fact that the popularity of Tiger King is what’s convincing him to do this. Of course, he’s not necessarily doing anything, as it seems like he’s really just tweeting about Tiger King, but whatever. Everybody’s talking about this thing anyway, and if a sheriff in Florida wants to cash in and get a little of that sweet social media engagement, then he should just go ahead and do it. Who are we to judge?
Then again, this isn’t the first time people have tried to reevaluate a criminal case because a thing was popular on Netflix, and it didn’t work out especially well that time. Making A Murderer made a very convincing case that Brendan Dassey’s confession that he helped his uncle Steven Avery murder a woman was extremely coerced and that he absolutely shouldn’t be in prison, but Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers chose not to offer him any sort of clemency late last year and he’s still in prison (and evidently will be until at least 2048). But maybe this one will work out. Who knows. He sure used an awful lot of hashtags.