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Remembering the reality star who gave his life on 9/11

Highlight on New Movie Released DVD

In July 2001, FOX debuted a reality show called “Murder in Small Town X.” The mystery series took 10 would-be sleuths and put them in a small Maine town to solve a series of fictional murders, with actors playing the victims, witnesses and suspects. It was a fun summer experiment, but it took a tragic turn shortly after the series aired its finale.

Angel Juarbe Jr. was crowned the winner on Sept. 4, 2001. He was a firefighter from the Bronx who outwitted his fellow contestants to solve the crimes and take home the $250,000 prize. Tragically, a week later the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists and Juarbe lost his life working at ground zero as a first responder.

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Juarbe’s mother Miriam told the New York Times in October 2001 that after the attacks, the entire cast of “Murder of Small Town X” came to see her. She also said during a 2006 memorial feature that she wishes her son’s name were not on the wall commemorating the victims, but she added, “He made us proud. He gave too much.”

In remembrance of Juarbe, FOX donated a 12-foot fisherman statue to the town of Eastport, ME, which doubled as the fictional town of Sunrise for the reality competition series.

A plaque was later placed on it that reads, “This statue was built in 2001 for Fox Television’s filming of its reality mini-series, ‘Murder in Small Town X.’ Restored in 2005 with donated funds and services, the statue is now a tribute to Angel Juarbe, Jr., the New York City fireman who won the $250,000 grand prize in the mini-series and soon after lost his life as one of the first responders to the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001.”

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