Cowie, one of the many zookeepers who kept things running at the Oklahoma zoo owned by Lowe as well as by Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, died earlier this month in New York City.
According to a report from TMZ, Cowie did not have any immediate family members who could legally take custody of his remains. As a result, following his autopsy, the responsibility could fall on the city to respectfully lay Cowie to rest. However, Lowe has other ideas.
Lowe told the outlet that he is actively working to get in touch with the proper authorities to claim Cowie’s remains so that he can give him a proper sendoff at the Thackerville, Okla., zoo he loved so much. If given custody of his remains, Lowe plans to have him cremated and spread his ashes along with his favorite cat, a Liger named Django, which died last year. In addition, Lowe plans to have a memorial service at the zoo for Cowie that will be live-streamed for fans to view and take part in on Facebook.
‘Tiger King’ star Jeff Lowe says he’s hoping to hold a memorial for Erik Cowie. (Netflix)
Representatives for New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for information.
However, TMZ reports that a close friend is indeed allowed to claim the remains of a deceased person provided there is no immediate next of kin. However, it’s unclear if that will be the case when it comes to the “Tiger King” star.
Police confirmed to Fox News that they responded to an emergency call of “an unconscious male inside of 21 East 55 Street in the confines of the 67 Pct.”
The man was in the bedroom of the location.
“EMS was on scene and pronounced the male deceased. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death,” the authorities said.
There were no drugs found at the scene.
In the doc, Cowie said he found the job on Craigslist and was desperate for work.
Cowie was one of the animal caretakers at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and testified against Exotic, who is currently serving 22 years in a Texas prison after being found guilty of hiring two hitmen in a failed murder-for-hire against his big cat zoo rival, Carole Baskin.
Cowie also said in court that he witnessed Exotic’s alleged mistreatment of the animals and confirmed that Exotic killed some of the older big cats to make room for new ones.