The mysterious 2004 death of 23-year-old Alonzo Brooks, which featured on Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries last year, has been ruled a homicide less than a year after federal authorities exhumed his body to investigate the case as a possible hate crime.
In a statement on Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigations said that the new autopsy focused on injuries to Brooks' body that the coroner ruled were not consistent with standard decomposition, according to multiple reports.
"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."
Brooks' Unsolved Mystery
On May 1, 2004, Brooks body was found in a creek in La Cygne, Kansas, a few weeks after he attended a party with friends at a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. According to authorities, Brooks was one of three Black men at the party, which was attended by more than 100 people.
Authorities said Brooks' friends, whom he travelled with, left the party before him, leaving Brooks without a ride back home. He was reported missing the following day after he failed to return home. Law enforcement agencies searched around the farmhouse but could not locate Brooks.
A month later, a group of Brooks' family and friends organized a search and in just under an hour, they found his body, on top of a pile of brush and branches in a creek adjacent to the farmhouse. An autopsy indicated that Brooks did not have any broken bones, any signs of blunt force trauma or injury, nor any of the biological signs of drowning in his lungs and his cause of death could not be determined at the time.
Was Brooks' Murder Racially-Motivated?
The case remained cold for 17 years until it featured on an episode of Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries reboot titled "No Ride Home" last year. In July 2020, the FBI reopened Brooks' case and offered a $100,000 reward for information about his death. The FBI also had his body exhumed from his grave as part of
The FBI added that his death was being investigated as a potential racially-motivated crime. In July 2020, the FBI exhumed his body from his grave as part of the investigation into the possibility that Brooks' death was a racially-motivated crime.
From the beginning of the case, there has been a lot of speculation that Brooks was a victim of foul play. "Some said Brooks may have flirted with a girl, some said drunken White men wanted to fight an African-American male, and some said racist Whites simply resented Brooks' presence," the FBI said.
Brooks' friends say he was the target of racial slurs and got into a brief altercation. His mother, Maria Ramirez, also believes her son was targeted for his race. "I'm Mexican and his father is Black," Ramirez told NBC Dateline in June. "So he's mixed. They didn't just target one race. Or kill one race. They killed two. He was targeted because of the color of his skin."