Photo: Joe Exotic Facebook

About Travis Michael Maldonado
Age23 Years
BirthMarch 22, 1994 California
DeathOctober 6, 2017
SpouseJoseph Maldonado (Joe Exotic) 2013 - 2017
SiblingsDanielle Maldonado, Ashley Maldonado
ParentsCheryl Maldonado, Danny Maldonado
Cause of DeathSelf-Inflicted Accidental Fatal Gunshot

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is the latest true-crime docuseries on Netflix that everyone is talking about. The eponymous Tiger King, aka Joe Exotic, led a wild life before being convicted of plotting Carole Baskin’s murder. Besides running a private zoo of big cats in Oklahoma and having a bitter feud with Baskin, Joe Exotic built a reputation for his gun-toting, crazy fashion, and polygamous lifestyle. But his life took a downturn when one of his husbands, Travis Maldonado, died suddenly. Joe became unhinged after his death, and did things that frightened those around him. What happened to Joe’s husband? Our Travis Maldonado wiki elaborates on Joe Exotic’s relationship with him.

Travis Maldonado Was from California

Travis Michael Maldonado was born on March 22, 1994 in California. He was the only son born to Danny and Cheryl Maldonado.

Growing up in California with his sisters, Ashley and Danielle, Travis enjoyed skateboarding. Like most of the men who had relationships with Joe Exotic, Maldonado reportedly had a rough past, with a meth addiction. Some who knew Joe and Travis claim that his drug addiction fueled Travis’ dependency on Joe.

Maldonado’s parents and sisters survive him. According to Ashley’s Instagram posts, Danny is battling cancer and currently undergoing radiation therapy.

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My daddy before chemo and radiation

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Joe Exotic Married Travis Maldonado in a Three-Way Ceremony

Joe Exotic was exploring his sexuality when he was 19 while living with a girlfriend in Dallas and indulging in the gay nightlife there. After a car accident, he went to rehabilitate in Florida and lived there with a boyfriend.

He would later marry a man named Brian Rhyne in the ‘80s. Rhyne passed away in December 2001 of an infection and Joe swiftly moved on with J.C. Hartpence, who pushed Joe into having a traveling animal show.

When Joe began his private zoo in Oklahoma, he began dating lots of men and had polygamous relationships. Most of these men came from tough backgrounds and didn’t specifically identify as gay though they had relationships with Joe. Joe would take them in, let them work at the zoo, and claimed to give them a safe space.

At one point, Joe was in a relationship with Hartpence, John Finlay, and another man named Paul. After Paul left and Hartpence was arrested for threatening to shoot Joe, he and Finlay met Travis Maldonado.

Another one of Joe’s employees suggested taking Travis in, believing that working around the animals would help him fight his drug addiction. After Maldonado came to the zoo in December 2013, Joe took a liking to him instantly.

Less than a month later, Maldonado, Finlay, and Joe married in a three-way ceremony. The unofficial wedding was in a dance hall across from the zoo and was broadcasted on Joe’s YouTube channel.

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The grooms wore hot pink button-down shirts with black pants. The zoo-themed wedding involved monkeys from Joe’s zoo.

Travis reportedly told everyone, except Joe, that he was straight. Finlay also stated that Travis was straight.

He would remain with Joe even when Finlay left their three-way union after reportedly being arrested for assaulting Joe. Joe and Travis legally wed in 2015 after the law allowed them to.

Finlay, who prominently features in the Netflix docuseries, said he was having an affair with a female park employee. He would later admit he was straight to Joe and leave when the woman would get pregnant. An old report stated that Finlay found a job as a welder after leaving the zoo.

Joe was born Joseph Allen Schreibvogel and operated under different stage names including Joe Exotic. In a bid to leave his family name behind, he adopted the surnames of his husbands. Currently, he goes by Joseph Maldonado-Passage, from his marriages to Travis Maldonado and Dillon Passage.

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Maldonado Accidentally Shot Himself

Travis Maldonado died on October 6, 2017 in an accidental shooting. According to Joe’s version of the events, Travis was showing off a Ruger pistol to the staff and joking around in the zoo’s gift shop.

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A post shared by Ashley Maldonado (@ashblonde89) on

He had reportedly read on the Internet that the gun wouldn’t fire without the magazine. To prove it, he took out the magazine, well aware that there was a bullet in the barrel.

Maldonado thought that the gun would not fire when he pulled the trigger. However, he was tragically wrong. The gun fired, shooting him in the head and killing him before the first responders arrived.

Investigators suspected that drugs might have been a factor in Maldonado’s death. But his death was ruled as a self-inflicted accidental fatal gunshot.

Joe was heartbroken from Maldonado’s death. He briefly got in touch with Finlay, who described how unhinged he was in his grief.

Joe began seeing Travis everywhere—from a honeybee to a dog—and often spent his time in his home crying or looking at the clouds for Travis’ face. After his death, Joe also became disillusioned with his zoo and his ongoing feud with Carole Baskin.

He began telling people he wanted out of the zoo business. In the same month Travis died, Joe had cold-bloodedly shot dead five aging tigers, a federal crime he would later be convicted for.

A few days after he met with a federal agent disguised as a hitman to kill Baskin, he married Dillon Passage from Austin.

Still grieving over Travis’ death and overwhelmed by his deteriorating zoo and business partnerships, Joe abandoned the zoo and left for Florida with Dillon. He was arrested on murder-for-hire charges and wildlife law violations in Florida.

In his trial, Joe would break down when questioned about Maldonado on the stand. However, the jury was convinced those were crocodile tears.

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