Joel lived an easy life growing up, he and his family were doing great. But soon after Joel's father's dishonorable discharge from the US Armed Forces, everything went south. They weren't doing good on money, and soon, had to move to a semi-isolated village somewhere in northwestern Texas. Joel was one of the younger ones in the family. He was always a cautious person, the "think before you speak" type of person, he didn't like taking risks. And when he and his family were to soon find out that the village they moved to was pretty much owned by an authoritarian German gang, Joel was the first one to openly protest of course to no prevail. Usually, the German gang members would often pick on Joel's family, which led to a fight happening between a gang member and Joel's older brother, Julian. In retaliation, one of the gang members killed Julian and Joel's younger sister Cleo, which led Julian to go on and kill 4 out of the 5 alleged killers. Joel knew something along the lines of one of his family members being killed was going to happen in a crime-infested area, but for him, it was only a matter of time. Soon after the death of his sister, Joel's grandparents offered a trip to Europe, where they would go to France, Germany, Greece, and Turkey. But at the very end of his trip, the outbreak had begun. Joel had been separated from his family and was now lost somewhere in the Turkish province of Trabzon. So, for about almost 2 years, Joel survived the outbreak and made his way to the Caucasus, where he would travel north, and would eventually end up in the small country of Chernarus.