Alonzo Brooks' loved ones are one step closer to answers in the 17-year search for the truth about his death.
On Monday, April 5, nine months after Brooks' body was exhumed from its Kansas grave, the FBI announced its findings from a new autopsy. According to a report conducted by a federal forensic examiner, Brooks' cause of death was homicide.
When the 23-year-old's remains were discovered in a creek in May 2004, approximately one month after he went missing after attending a party, investigators called his death "suspicious," but couldn't determine an official cause of death.
In 2019, the case was reopened by the FBI, who said in today's statement that Brooks' death was "no accident."
"This new examination by a team of the world's best forensic pathologists and experts establishes it was no accident. Alonzo Brooks was killed," acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard said. "We are doing everything we can, and will spare no resources, to bring those responsible to justice."
Interest in the cold case was reinvigorated thanks to Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries, which featured interviews from those who were with Brooks the night he went missing in the rural, predominantly white city of La Cygne, Kans.
The FBI said its new investigation is focused on whether Brooks, who was Black, "was the victim of a racially-motivated killing."
According to authorities, "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, Kan., rode to the party with friends. They left before him and he wound up with no ride home."
Brooks was reported missing the next day, however it wasn't until his friends and family conducted their own search that his body was found partially covered by brush in a nearby creek on May 1, 2004.
The FBI is offering $100,000 to those with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for his death.
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