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Alonzo Brooks

The results of a new autopsy confirm what friends and family members of Alonzo Brooks have been saying for the past 17 years — his death was a homicide.

Brooks never came home from a party at a farmhouse in rural La Cygne in April 2004. His body was found in a nearby creek nearly a month after his disappearance. He was 23 years old.

The initial autopsy could not determine a cause of death, and investigators could not get a clear picture of what took place at the party and afterward by speaking to those who were there.

As part of a continuing federal investigation into the case, Brooks’ body was recently exhumed and transported to Dover Air Force Base for examination by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner. The examiner’s report concludes that the cause of death was homicide, according to a news release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“We knew that Alonzo Brooks died under very suspicious circumstances,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard. “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.”

The new autopsy focuses on injuries to parts of Brooks’ body that the examiner concluded are inconsistent with normal patterns of decomposition. Details of the examination are being withheld for investigative purposes, according to the FBI release.

In 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas and the FBI reopened the investigation of Brooks’ death, which had been dormant for years. As part of the new investigation, the FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Brooks’ death.

The cold case got national attention in July last year when it was the focus of one of six episodes of the new Unsolved Mysteries series on Netflix. The episode was titled “No Ride Home.”

“The FBI’s commitment to justice remains at the forefront of each and every investigation,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan. “Our reach is broad, and the strength of our investigative tools are exceptional. We remain dedicated to uncovering the truth surrounding the murder of Alonzo Brooks and ensuring those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”

The new investigation is focused on determining whether Brooks, an African-American who was 23 years old when he died, was the victim of a racially motivated killing. Brooks was last seen alive in April 2004 during a party at a house on the outskirts of La Cygne. He was one of only three African-American men at the party, which 100 or more people attended.

Brooks, who lived in Gardner, rode to the party with friends. They left before him and he wound up with no ride home. When Brooks failed to come home the next day, his family and friends contacted the Linn County Sheriff’s Department.

According to reports at the time, the Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies searched areas around the farmhouse, including parts of nearby Middle Creek, but did not find Alonzo.

After Alonzo had been missing for almost a month, a group of his family and friends organized a search. They began on the road near the farmhouse and walked the two branches of Middle Creek. In just under an hour, they found Alonzo’s body, partially on top of a pile of brush and branches in the creek.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the FBI at 816-512-8200 or 816-474-TIPS or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

Senior Managing Editor Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or brian.mccauley@miconews.com.

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