Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin has a surprising potential connection to a fugitive convicted of murder caught in Florida. Though unsure of his true identity, Baskin revealed in a Facebook post that she thought the killer was none other than the man who once tried to kill her with a curtain rod. And no, Tiger King fans, we’re not talking about Joe!
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The potential strangler in question? James Robert Jones, 59, and a former private in the Army. The convicted murderer was reported to have escaped from prison in 1977. Jones was later put back behind bars by police in Florida in 2014.
In her Facebook post from today, July 24, Baskin speculates that the man could be who she knows as Jim Jones, a previous boyfriend from her younger years. Narcity reached out to Baskin and received an email response detailing the encounter.
Baskin told Narcity that she believed it was Jones who tracked her to where she was staying at her grandparent’s home in Lake Keystone, Florida. She awoke to an intruder in her room sitting on top of her attempting to strangle her with a curtain rod.
Covered by the heavy velvet curtains, Baskin said she could not make out exactly who her attacker was. The Big Cat Rescue owner says the intruder fled out the door to the upstairs porch and down the stairs when they heard her grandparents shouting up the steps.
Baskin went on to explain in her email that at the time of the curtain rod incident, she had recently dumped Jones and left him at his mother’s house in Tampa.
Baskin also details her time with Jones in a video diary on YouTube, recounting financial struggles and domestic abuse while they were together.
So what makes Baskin think that this was indeed the captured murderer?
It seems a few different factors come into play, including his name, his history with the army, and resemblance to photos from her childhood yearbook.
“If his parents knew he was a fugitive from prison, they never told me,” Baskin wrote. “For all I could tell, we all thought he was just AWOL from the army and we had been trying to get him to go back.”
Comments on Baskin’s post are split in speculation, some denying the look-alike to her yearbook photo of Jones, while others see the resemblance.
Baskin herself is still unsure and searching for clues to better place the dates from when the murderer escaped prison and when she last saw her ex-boyfriend.