Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a two-part series about the life and career of famed El Paso private investigator Jay J. Armes.
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso’s famous private investigator Jay J Armes is now 88 years old and still solving cases, telling KTSM 9 News it’s what keeps him young.
“They come to me and I solve their problem and that’s the satisfaction in my heart,” said Armes. “I still feel like a young person — I’m 45 and all that. So to me, age doesn’t mean anything to me.”
Armes allowed KTSM 9 News to take a look behind the iron gate at his Lower Valley estate, where a lion fireplace, chandeliers and, of course, his collection of custom suits could be seen. However, he’s not spending his days at home — during our interview, his phone was ringing from people with problems needing solving.
Armes is quick to work on a case of any scope, and one of his most recent involved a stolen golf cart in El Paso. “We apply as much energy to a simple case as we would a most difficult case,” said Armes.
About a month ago, Armes received a call from El Pasoan Chris Hoffman at Mountain View Golf Carts.
“We rented a golf cart to gentlemen and long story short, he stopped making payments,” said Hoffman, who is part-owner of Mountain View Golf Carts. “We thought about a private eye and we were like, ‘is that even a thing anymore?'”
Hoffman filed a police report and six months went by with no word on where his golf cart was.
Within three days of hiring Armes, the golf cart was found. Armes did surveillance on the man who owed Mountain View Golf Carts and paid him a visit.
“I said, ‘My name is Jay Armes, I’m an investigator.’ (He said), ‘oh, we know who you are.’ And I said, ‘well, you know who I am, then you know why I’m here,” said Armes. “So, he knew already that I was after him, so what I did, I went airborne.”
Armes shared some of his tactics with KTSM, but not all.
“Whose plane did you take up in the air?” we asked.
“I can’t tell you,” Armes responded, smiling.
His tactics worked though — within a week, he pulled up to Mountain View Golf Carts in his black Hummer, the golf cart in tow.
“We walked into his office and I said, ‘hey Chris, I got your cart,’ and he said, ‘you’re kidding,'” Armes said.
Armes told KTSM 9 News there’s no case too big or small, from finding the stolen golf cart to receiving a call from an El Paso man about a year ago who was looking at 20 years in prison.
“Indecency with two minor kids and he says, ‘I’m being charged and I’m going to be sentenced to 20 years in the penitentiary,'” said Armes.
Armes looked into the case and found that the man’s ex-wife was behind the allegations. He had the man take a polygraph test to help prove his innocence.
“Proof that the ex-wife had set him up,” said Armes. “Got him a polygraph and with that documents, I got him released and no charges.”
Armes told KTSM it’s cases like these that make him proud to be a private investigator and that’s why he’s not ready to stop working.
This is the first article in a two-part series, about Jay J. Armes. Read the second article, “A look back on Jay J. Armes’ favorite investigations of all time,” which first appeared on KTSM.com on Feb. 17, 2021.