Jay J. Armes

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Jay J. Armes
Jay J Armes.jpg
Jay J. Armes
Photo:Adam Hicks
Born El Paso, Texas
Occupation Actor, private investigator, author
Known for Prosthetic hands

Jay J. Armes (born Julian Armas 12 August 1932) is an American amputee, private investigator, and actor. He is known for his prosthetic hands.

Early life and amputation[edit]

Armes was born Julian Armas to Mexican-American parents Pedro and Beatriz in Ysleta, a low-income area close to El Paso, Texas.[1] At the age of thirteen, he and his friend Dick Caples, two years his senior, broke into a Texas & Pacific Railroad section house and stole railway torpedoes. Armes hit one with an ice-pick, detonating it and causing the mangling of both hands.[1] Caples, who was standing nearby, was not injured. Armes was taken to Hotel Dieu Hospital in El Paso, where his hands were amputated.[2]


In 1958, after briefly working as an actor in California and returning to El Paso, Armes started his private investigative agency, The Investigators. In 1978, he launched The Investigators Security Force. Designed as a mobile patrol and security service, this branch of the organization served the community for a number of years until the patrol division was discontinued. Today, The Investigators Security Force specializes in domestic government contracts and industrial security management abroad.

In addition to his work as a private investigator, Armes has been a certified Peace Officer. He served eight years as Chief Deputy Constable for the El Paso County Constables Department, Precinct 2, and four years as Chief Deputy Constable, Precinct 3. He is also a former Law Enforcement Instructor for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. In 1989, Armes was elected as a city councilman in El Paso and served two terms.

Jay J. Armes takes on cases in the U.S. and worldwide. He is often paid $1 million per case. He sometimes takes on pro bono cases, such as missing Baby Gabriel’s. Among his diverse cases, he has rescued more than a hundred children from underground adoptions.

Books and toys[edit]

In 1976, Armes published his autobiography, Jay J. Armes, Investigator, ISBN 0-02-503200-3. In 1977, the Ideal Toy Company launched the Jay J. Armes Toy Line, which featured a Jay J. Armes action figure with detachable prosthetics, various gadgets, and a Mobile Investigation Unit.

In 1978, Armes and Ideal Toy Corp. launched an Investigative Course for Children which was introduced to a number of school districts throughout the United States. The same year, Armes authored a comprehensive correspondence-based investigative training course, and founded The Investigators Training Academy.


Armes played the villain in the Hawaii Five-O episode "Hookman" (11 September 1973). The updated series, Hawaii Five-0, remade the episode with the same scenes and title on 4 February 2013; Peter Weller remade the role and directed the episode.

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 1975: featured in People Magazine as one of the "The 25 Most Intriguing People" of the year
  • 1976: received the "Golden Plate Achievement Award"
  • 1977: featured in the Book of Lists[3]
  • 1979: selected as one of forty individuals honored as the "Most Successful Celebrities of America" by the Academy of Achievement in Beverly Hills, California
  • 1981: featured in the book Dreaming and Winning in America
  • 1989: received the "Most Successful Investigator in the Country" Award from the International Society of Private Investigators (ISPI)
  • 1991: featured in the book Watching the Detectives
  • 1992: honored as a member of the "Who's Who in Leading American Executives"
  • 1994: featured in the Time Life book series, Crimes of Passion, along with son Jay J. Armes III, for their work on an international murder case
  • 1997: featured in "The Hispanic-American Hall of Fame" poster, card set and learning guide
  • 1998: Inducted into Investigator's Hall Of Fame, NAIS and named top ten investigators of the century for 1900's-NAIS. National Association Of Investigative Specialists


  1. ^ a b Is Jay J. Armes For Real? Gary Cartwright, Texas Monthly, 1972.
  2. ^ El Paso Times, 1946: Ysleta Child Loses Both Hands In Explosion of Railroad Torpedo
  3. ^ Wallechinsky, David; Wallace, Irving; Wallace, Amy (1977). The People's Almanac Presents the Book of Lists. New York: Bantam Books. p. 12. ISBN 0-688-03183-8. "15 Prominent Handicapped Persons" 


External links[edit]