The death of Alonzo Brooks has been ruled a homicide by a federal forensic examiner after his case was featured on Netflix‘s Unsolved Mysteries show and his body was exhumed last year.
Brooks, 23, disappeared from a party in Kansas in 2004 and his body was found in a creek a month later in La Cygne. He was buried in a Topeka cemetery and his case went cold over time.
The FBI and federal prosecutors reopened the cold case into Brooks’ death in 2019. The case was featured in the Unsolved Mysteries episode No Ride Home on July 1, 2020. The FBI then exhumed his body and offered a $100,000 reward for any information last year.
‘We knew that Alonzo Brooks died under very suspicious circumstances,’ said Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard in a news release announcing the development.
‘This new examination by a team of the world’s best forensic pathologists and experts establishes it was no accident. Alonzo Brooks was killed.’
He added: ‘We are doing everything we can, and will spare no resources, to bring those responsible to justice.’
The death of Alonzo Brooks has been ruled a homicide by a federal forensic examiner
Brooks, 23, disappeared from a party in Kansas in 2004 and his body was found in a creek a month later in La Cygne
Brooks’ body was taken to the Dover Air Force Base to be examined by an Armed Forces Medical Examiner – who focused the new autopsy on injuries to parts of his body that were concluded to be ‘inconsistent with normal patterns of decomposition,’ investigators said.
Investigators did not reveal further details about the autopsy citing the ongoing investigation into Brooks’ death.
Last June, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas said in a press release that the FBI was investigating Brooks’ death ‘as a potential racially-motivated crime.’
Investigators said that Brooks was ‘one of only three African-American men’ out of about 100 revelers at the farmhouse party.
According to investigators, some partygoers said Brooks ‘may have flirted with a girl’ while others recounted ‘drunken white men’ wanting to fight a black male. Others told investigators that ‘racist whites simply resented Brooks’ presence’ at the party.
Former U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, who pushed to reopen the case, said last year that ‘his death certainly was suspicious.’
‘I have stood under the trees on the bank of Middle Creek where Alonzo’s body was found,’ McAllister said. ‘It is a quiet place of profound sadness to one who knows its history, but no answers are there.’
He added: ‘I am convinced, however, that there are people who know the answers, people who have been keeping terrible secrets all these years and bearing a horrible burden.’
The case was featured in the Unsolved Mysteries episode No Ride Home on July 1, 2020. Brooks, pictured, is seen an episode of the show
A scene in Unsolved Mysteries shows a missing poster for Alonzo Brooks, who disappeared after a farmhouse party
Brooks, left, is pictured in the Netflix series Unsolved Mysteries which aired last year
Maria Ramirez, Brooks’ mother, is pictured in the Netflix series Unsolved Mysteries after his death
The night Brooks went missing, he had ridden to the party with friends who left before him, and eventually had no ride home.
His family and friends contacted the Linn County Sheriff’s Department when he failed to come home the next day.
Law enforcement searched areas around the farmhouse, including parts of nearby Middle Creek, but did not find his body.
His family and friends organized another search party after Brooks had been missing for almost a month and found his body on top of a pile of brush and branches in the creek.
‘In the initial investigation, a coroner in Linn County said he was unable to determine a cause of death and witnesses’ interviews failed to produce any arrests,’ prosecutors said this week.
However, Linn County investigators had ruled the case a homicide at the time, the Lawrence Journal-World reported in 2004.
The FBI released a notice that described Brooks as being ‘mild-mannered and a good-humored person.’
A Facebook page titled Justice for Alonzo Brooks posted a message on behalf of Brooks’ family on Thursday.
‘On behalf of Alonzo’s family we would like to thank everyone who has liked, shared, comment on his page, as well as private message. We really appreciate the great amount of support we have received from all over,’ the post reads.
‘We especially like to thank the FBI agents and the US Attorney for doing all that has been done and continue to do to bring the person(s) to justice.’
It continued: ‘Keep Alonzo’s name alive and keep the tips coming in. Continue the prayers and please say a prayer for our FBI agents. The amount of work and time they spend away from their families is unnoticed and again we can’t thank them enough.’