The body of Alonzo Brooks was exhumed from its Topeka, Kans. grave on Tuesday, July 21, following heightened interest in the cold case.
A spokesperson for the Kansas City FBI confirmed to E! News, "The body of Alonzo Brooks was exhumed today as part of the ongoing investigation."
Last year, the FBI announced they were reopening Brooks' case, nearly 16 years after his body was discovered in a creek approximately one month after he was reporting missing from La Cygne, Kans. Additionally, authorities stated in June that they are offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information regarding his death. "Likely multiple people know what happened that night in April 2004," U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a statement last month, according to People. "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."
Brooks died under mysterious circumstances sometime between April 3, 2004 and before May 1, 2004, when his remains were discovered.
According to witness accounts, shared on Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries and in other publications, the 23-year-old disappeared after attending a party in the rural community of La Cygne, which was located about an hour away by car from his home in Gardner, Kans. Though he drove to the gathering with three other men, Brooks did not return home with them. His mother reported him missing the following day and a search began.
For a month, authorities searched the surrounding area of his last known whereabouts, but were only able to find his boots and hat.
Authorities then permitted Brooks' family to set out on their own to look for the 23-year-old. They found his body on the same day. An autopsy could not determine his cause of death.
According to eyewitness testimony included in Unsolved Mysteries, Brooks was one of few Black party-goers in attendance. His family suspects he was the victim of a hate crime. Brooks' mother, Maria Ramirez, told NBC's Dateline, "I'm Mexican and his father is Black," Maria said. "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."
However, Brooks' coroner report yielded no results as the coroner stated they couldn't conclude the cause of death.
The investigation into his suspected murder has been of interest to the true crime community for some time, but Netflix's revival of Unsolved Mysteries has brought even more attention to this case and the others featured. The show co-creator Terry Dunn Meurer told Entertainment Weekly, "These are important cases, and we really hope that the exposure brings renewed interest and encourages viewers to come forward."
This is an ongoing investigation. People with knowledge or information related to Brooks' death are encouraged to call the FBI at 816-512-8200 or 816-474-TIPS or submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov.