What Happened to Alonzo Brooks? 23-Year-Old's Death in 2004 Ruled Homicide in New Autopsy Results

Alonzo Brooks
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Alonzo Brooks, 23, went missing from a party in Kansas in 2003 and his body was found a year later. In a new autopsy report, forensic pathologists are now saying his death was no accident.

New autopsy results have revealed that the case of a Black man from Kansas who was last seen alive at a farmhouse party 17 years ago has been ruled a homicide, and now his death is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to reports.

Alonzo Brooks went to a party in rural Kansas in April 2004. He drove there with friends but they left earlier than him, leaving Brooks without a ride home. That was the last time he was ever seen alive.

When he didn't come home for days, his family and friends reported him missing and worked tirelessly to find any information about his disappearance, his sister, Esperanza Roberts, told People.

"Our thoughts were, 'Something happened at this party,'" Roberts said. "We need to get on the phone and talk to people. We need to find out what happened."

After almost a month with no leads, loved ones organized a search party. In under an hour, Brooks' body was found partially on top of a pile of branches in a creek in La Cygne, just 60 miles south of Kansas City, the Justice Department wrote.

At the time forensic analysis of the physical evidence was "limited," the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement. An autopsy performed that year wasn't able to determine his cause of death, the F.B.I said.

The investigation was reopened in 2019 by the F.B.I and U.S. Attorney's Office. A year later, his case went on to be featured in "Unsolved Mysteries," a Netflix docuseries that premiered last summer and the F.B.I. offered a new reward of $100,000 for any information on Brooks' disappearance.

“I have stood under the trees on the bank of Middle Creek where Alonzo’s body was found,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, who was working on the case at the time, said in an announcement posted in June of last year. “It is a quiet place of profound sadness to one who knows its history, but no answers are there." 

His body was exhumed from a cemetery in Topeka and taken to Delaware for an examination and, this week, a new autopsy result has determined that his cause of death was a homicide, the Associated Press reported. 

The new autopsy looks at injuries on parts of Brooks' body. The medical examiner found that they were inconsistent with normal patterns of decomposition, the AP reported.

The agency now believes Brooks's death was a "potentially racially motivated crime" since he was just one of three Black men at the party, the attorney's office said in a statement. There were about 100 people in attendance.

“We knew that Alonzo Brooks died under very suspicious circumstances,” Duston Slinkard, the acting United States attorney for the District of Kansas, said in a written statement, according to several reports.

“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.”