‘Tiger King’: The Disturbing Story of Travis Maldonado’s Death

by Jeremy Spirogis
Joe Exotic - Tiger King

The weird seven-part docuseries, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, has taken the world by storm. The Netflix hit follows the lifetime of “Tiger King” Joe Exotic, who ran the G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma earlier than his arrest and conviction from a posh murder-for-hire plot. While it might sound like fiction, Joe Exotic’s marriage to 4 husbands — two on the similar time — grew to become considered one of many subplots. Among these males is Travis Maldonado, who met an early destiny in 2017. The particulars are disturbing.

Who was Travis Maldonado?

Joe Exotic - Tiger King
Joe Exotic – Tiger King | Netflix

If you haven’t heard about Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, the docuseries follows the wild story of G.W. Zoo proprietor, “Joe Exotic,” his sordid relationships with 4 completely different husbands, and his ongoing rivalry with animal rights activist, Carole Baskin.

Though there are various elements of the sequence to touch upon, many are hooked up to the story of [one of Joe Exotic’s husbands], Travis Maldonado. The [then] wide-eyed 19-year-old started his journey on the unique zoo in late 2013.

The California transplant arrived on the zoo with a sophisticated meth and marijuana habit historical past. He got here by the use of suggestion by way of one other zoo worker who hoped working with animals may curb his drug habit.

He is survived by two sisters, and his mother and pa — who’s in most cancers remission — as seen by way of sister, Ashley Maldonado’s Facebook web page.

Details about Maldonado’s life earlier than becoming a member of Exotic’s zoo haven’t been disclosed. However, primarily based on images shared by his sisters, brother Maldonado was very a lot liked and can be perpetually missed by all who knew him.

Inside Maldonado’s relationship with Joe Exotic

One month after becoming a member of the zoo group, Maldonado — who beforehand stated on digital camera he was a straight man — married Exotic, alongside together with his longtime associate, John Finlay, in a three-way ceremony which befell in a dance corridor close to the zoo. Some of the animals they cared for have been in attendance.

The three-way relationship finally transitioned right into a “traditional” two-way marriage in 2015 when the legal guidelines modified. Finlay eliminated himself claiming Exotic had develop into “controlling and manipulative,” in line with Screen Rant.

Finlay and Exotic’s finish got here with a parking zone brawl whereas Finlay was charged with assault and battery. Meanwhile, Maldonado stayed with Exotic till Oct. 6, 2017 — the day he died.

How did Maldonado die?


Maldonado met a tragic finish with an unintended suicide. According to witnesses, he eliminated the journal from a pistol to point out that it wouldn’t fireplace with out it, regardless of having bullets within the chamber. The incident is a part of the docuseries.

At the time, Exotic was working for Oklahoma governor. The loss of life caught him, and everybody who knew Maldonado, abruptly.

“My entire soul died,” Exotic stated. He constructed a memorial for Maldonado on the zoo’s grounds.

Maldonado’s sister, Ashley, lately posted a warning on her Facebook web page warning viewers of her brother’s premature loss of life.

“A WARNING TO ANYONE WHO WATCHES THIS….WHO KNEW TRAVIS… im w my dad and sister watching it now….. IT SHOWS THE REAL LIVE FOOTAGE OF THE ACTUAL SHOOTING – not Travis himself but the guy in the room with Travis when it happened …. it happened so fast.. i have seen the surveillance footage already but my sister Danielle hadnt and she f*cking lost her sh*t right now… so i just wanted to warn you.”

Ashley Maldonado Facebook

March 22 would’ve been Maldonado’s 26th birthday. Whatever emotions viewers have about Tiger King, Maldonado’s finish is an unlucky accident that took a life far too quickly.

How to get assist: In the U.S., name the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or textual content HOME to 741-741 to attach with a skilled disaster counselor on the free Crisis Text Line.

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