The death of Alonzo Brooks — whose case was featured in a 2020 episode of Netflix’s “Unsolved Mysteries” — has been ruled a homicide following the exhumation of his body.
“We knew that Alonzo Brooks died under very suspicious circumstances,” Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard said in a statement. “This new examination by a team of the world’s best forensic pathologists and experts establishes it was no accident. Alonzo Brooks was killed. We are doing everything we can, and will spare no resources to bring those responsible to justice.”
In 2004, Brooks attended a party in La Cygne, Kansas and was one of three Black people in a crowd of about 100 guests.
He went to the event with a group of friends, but they all departed before him, and he was left without a ride. The 23-year-old — who reportedly got into a verbal altercation with a white man at the party — never made it home and was reported missing the following day. After an unsuccessful search by Kansas police, a group of his family and friends conducted their own search a month later. They eventually discovered his body in a creek on top of a pile of branches.
Though Brooks’ family and friends believe he was a victim of a racially-motivated killing, an autopsy could not determine his cause of death, and the case went cold. In 2019, the investigation was reopened after the incident was highlighted on Netflix’s reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries.” In 2020, the FBI announced a $100,000 financial incentive for anyone with information on Brooks’ death.
“We are investigating whether Alonzo was murdered,” then-US Attorney Stephen McAllister said at the time. ”His death certainly was suspicious, and someone, likely multiple people, know(s) what happened that night in April 2004. It is past time for the truth to come out. The code of silence must be broken. Alonzo’s family deserves to know the truth, and it is time for justice to be served.”
Following a body exhumation, Brooks’ body was transported to the Dover Air Force Base for examination. The new autopsy reportedly focused on injuries to his body that are “inconsistent with normal patterns of decomposition,” per the medical examiner.