It’s been more than 15 years since Alonzo Brooks was found dead after attending a party where he was allegedly subjected to racist threats — but the case is now getting a fresh look from law enforcement.
The case will receive more public awareness as well, as it is the focus of one of the new episodes of the long-running "Unsolved Mysteries," which debuted on Netflix this week.
Alonzo Brooks, 23, went with a group of friends to a party in a rural area outside of La Cygne, Kansas in April 2004, according to the FBI. The group traveled about an hour to attend the farmhouse party, Brooks’ friends noted in “No Ride Home” — a new “Unsolved Mysteries” episode about the case. There, Brooks got into a verbal altercation with another party attendee before his friends left him at the house.
A month later, his body was found in a creek in Linn County. Brooks' death was ruled suspicious but the case was ultimately closed.
That is, until last month when it was reopened by the FBI and the Department of Justice, according to a June 11 press release. Officials cited new leads in the case.
“We are investigating whether Alonzo was murdered,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said during the announcement. “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.”
McAllister noted that the FBI began reinvestigating the case after filmmakers approached him to discuss it a year prior. A publicist for “Unsolved Mysteries” confirmed to Oxygen.com on Wednesday that the filmmakers were from "Unsolved Mysteries," which was recently revived and hit Netflix on Wednesday.
The FBI press release described Brooks’ death as a “potential racially-motivated crime.”
Brooks’ friend Daniel Fune told “Unsolved Mysteries” that Brooks got into an argument with someone at the party and that he had to intervene.
“There were some people at the party who, you know, had some problems with people’s skin color,” Justin Sprague, another friend of Brooks who attended the party, said.
Yet another friend, Tyler Broughard, said that he thinks that Brooks was the only Black person present at the party.
Brooks was one of three Black people at the party, and he was allegedly targeted because of his race, KCTV5 reported in June. Witnesses reported racial slurs and threats being directed at Brooks, according to KCTV5. The FBI press release noted that all Brooks’ friends “left before him, and Brooks eventually had no ride home.”
Fune claimed that Brooks was determined to have a good time at the party despite the racist slurs. Broughard theorized that the n-word was used that night, and he said that Brooks wouldn't tolerate that sort of hate speech.
As “Unsolved Mysteries” showed, several rumors swirled following both Brooks' disappearance and the discovery of his body. Several of the theories speculated that his death was racially-motivated, including the theory that he was killed for flirting with a white woman.
The FBI noted that Brooks was "described as being mild-mannered and a good-humored person."
After the FBI reopened the case last month, officials also offered up a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for Brooks' death.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the FBI at 816-512-8200 or 816-474-TIPS or to submit tips at fbi.tips.gov
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