Jax has more than ten years of investigative experience in law enforcement agencies in Arizona and California. His investigative law enforcement experience and training include under-cover operations, narcotics, SWAT, person and property crimes, etc. Jax has been a private investigator since 2008 specializing in the hard to solve cases but also civilian, business and government contracted investigations. Jax is additionally part of a team of three investigators that explore missing people and their relation to Alaskan folklore and legend in History Channel’s Missing in Alaska. Jax’s pragmatic approach and investigative experience keep the team on task in the great dangers of the Alaska wilderness.
Please tell our readers a little about your background. Why did you become a private investigator? What are some misconceptions the public has about private investigating?
Jax Menez Atwell: I was in law enforcement for over a decade and had been transitioning a lot of side work into private investigations and executive protection details. One thing led to another and being a full time private investigator is the path I enjoyed the most! I was fortunate in my law enforcement time to have worked a lot of investigative specialties and received a ton of training that really gave me an advantage in the private sector quickly.
I’d say the biggest misconception about the industry of private investigation is that the industry is shady. While it is true we sometimes work in areas of grey when it comes to the law, what we do is very legal and for the most part I’d say most investigators I work with know the law better than most street cops.
A funny misconception on PI’s is that they are old, fat, retired cops which I definitely use to my advantage!
What compelled you to explore the “Alaska Triangle”? What do you believe is the most likely cause of the disappearances?
Jax Menez Atwell: This is a very interesting question! Nothing compelled me to grasp the opportunity of a lifetime! Too often we over think things and there are few times in life that opportunities come around that you just HAVE to take or you will regret it the rest of your life.
Personally my belief is that people go missing in Alaska because the harsh land swallows them up. That can mean the terrain, the animal life, the weather or anything that you aren’t prepared for, and yes that can include the unknown. As we saw first-hand when my fellow investigator Ken Gerhard got badly injured on one of our investigations, there is no 911, saving yourself is on you and you only. We were fortunate in that situation but most that get hurt or stranded in the wilderness are prey for Mother Nature’s worst possible scenarios!
What are some unique challenges you face investigating in the Alaska wilderness?
Jax Menez Atwell: By far the biggest challenge was dealing with all the different terrains, weather patterns, dangers Alaska has to offer. What most people don’t think of when they think of Alaska is how absolutely huge the state is. Texas and California with room to spare can fit inside the borders of this state. The terrains, weather systems, and dangers varied wildly from place to place. I will be honest I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much on clothing and gear ever in my life!
Where did you meet your fellow team members, Ken Gerhard and Tommy Joseph? What does each person contribute to the group?
Jax Menez Atwell: Well this is a tale of three men with all very different paths coming together. I will be honest it had its ups and downs at first but these guys have become my brothers and the experiences we have shared have bonded us for life. Initially we were brought together by Tommy Joseph who is very driven to explore Alaskan disappearances due to the loss of his father who went missing when he was a young boy. Sprinkle in Ken Gerhard who is one of the world’s top crypto-zoologists. Tommy’s knowledge of Alaska and it’s folklore with Ken’s incredible knowledge of unknown creatures was a great pairing…for me I was just the guy who knew how to keep investigations moving and on task. Initially I felt insignificant to these guys but all three of our skills meshed and we became a dynamic team that managed to work through incredible investigations in a daunting environment!
What is the most compelling case from the Alaska Triangle you have studied so far?
Jax Menez Atwell: They all have their very own and unique things that make them a plausible explanation for their existence and for relation to why people go missing. Our investigations were pretty broad from the scientific look into Vortexes to creatures like the Hairy Man and Gnomes that have implications globally. For me the easiest ones to really hold my hat on are animals or creatures like the demon wolf who are probably just solitary creatures that have managed to stay away from man. They are discovering new species and creatures all the time throughout the world and a place like Alaska has so many places to hide!
Where can our readers find more information about you, your business, and the TV show Missing in Alaska?
You can find out more information at http://www.atwellinvestigations.com and History’s television show Missing in Alaska on the official website at http://www.history.com/shows/missing-in-alaska. My official social links are: https://twitter.com/jaxmenezatwell https://instagram.com/jax_menez_atwell/ https://www.facebook.com/atwell.investigations.AZ
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