Thompson, who was 61, had just been released from serving a year in prison on an illegal firearms conviction, and according to investigators he has been cited in the past for animal abuse and neglect.
His wife had apparently left him a few months ago. Late Wednesday, Marian Thompson refused to answer questions from reporters, though she did cooperate with police to account for the animals.
According to authorities she begged them not to take away those that remained.
At this point, the only animal still unaccounted for is a macaque monkey that may be infected with the Herpes B virus.
Lutz said it "could be on the loose; however we have had no reported sightings." The missing monkey has likely already been killed by one of the large cats, Lutz said, just as another monkey had been.
The animals that were slaughtered between Tuesday and Wednesday included 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, a pair of grizzlies, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon.
The dead animals were buried on the preserve Wednesday, Lutz said.
The six surviving animals are currently at the Columbus Zoo where they are getting around the clock care.
Wildlife expert and former director of the Columbus Zoo Jack Hanna told ABC News that the tragedy in Zanesville is the worst that he has seen in 45 years.
"I'm sorry to say, but what the sheriff did had to be done," Hanna said. "Otherwise, we would have had carnage out here in Zanesville, Ohio.
The Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, is working with wildlife expert Jack Hanna to create new regulations in the state for nonnative animals so this kind of disaster never happens again.
Lutz said a task force has already been assembled and they're about six weeks away from the new restrictions.
"I think the citizens of Ohio are entitled to have safety precautions in place," he said.