EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Ever since news broke that El Paso’s favorite detective and exotic animal owner Jay J. Armes was selling his 5.85-acre Lower Valley estate, people have speculated as to why.
Armes said he wants to clear up any misconceptions about why he’s selling.
“I want to set the record straight, that there’s no other reason. I’m not retiring, that I’m not penniless and that I still have a lot of strength,” Armes said in an exclusive interview with KTSM 9 News. “And I still have the same brain that I had 50 years ago that I can solve any case that comes before me.”
He said that the 13,387-square-foot home that’s been a landmark in El Paso for almost 70 years is just too big for him and his wife, since all his kids moved out.
Some of the items that will be for sale in addition to the home include his 1962 Shadow Rolls-Royce — the same one on the cover of one of his books — as well as his bulletproof limo and many custom suits.
“I’m not desperate and I’m not destitute,” said Armes. “I just can’t wear 122 suits anymore, but I have more than that I’m keeping — about 50 suits or something like that.”
During KTSM’s interview with Armes, he showed old photos of his family at the home that is now for sale.
“This is my son Jay with a cheetah,” Armes said as he held up an old photo.
However, he said he no longer has his exotic animals, saying he donated them to zoos across the country.
“I had about 30 tigers, I had lions and I had cheetahs running around with the dogs,” said Armes.
Although he adds that even without the exotic animals, this is still not a normal home.
“It’s got secret rooms and all that in case of an emergency, it’s a different kind of home,” said Armes.
After more than 50 years of being a successful private investigator, Armes says he could live anywhere in the world, but has chosen to move into a smaller home with his wife in El Paso.
“That’s right, why stay in El Paso? Because I’m from El Paso,” said Armes.