Alonzo Brooks’ case from ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ has been reopened by the FBI

If you, like me, love true crime programs then you are most likely hooked on the six-part Netflix reboot of CBS/NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries. I have spent the last two days binge-watching the six episodes, ok five because the UFO episode was too bizarre for me to watch through. Three of the episodes left me somewhat bereft as the circumstances surrounding the deaths are incomprehensible and tragic.

The story from episode 4 of No Ride Home, was harrowing. Alonzo Brooks was a 23-year-old biracial man from Topeka, Kansas who disappeared after attending what would seem to be a whites-only party with his friends. Granted the small town he was living in had hardly any black citizens making the likelihood that he’d run into other people of color slim. Alonzo was left at the party after his friend got lost while driving to get some cigarettes, leaving him stranded and walking home alone through a predominantly white neighborhood in Linn County, KS. Some party-goers said he angered folks when he spent quite a bit of time canoodling with a white woman at the party.

Alonzo was reported missing the next day after he didn’t call his friend which prompted a month-long police search that uncovered a pair of Alonzo’s boots near a creek. After the fruitless albeit reluctant search by the police didn’t turn up a body, Alonzo’s family was allowed to search for him on their own. Within minutes of searching the area where his shoes were found, the family stumbled upon Alonzo’s decaying body in the creek under a dilapidated white barn.

The medical examiner returned no evidence of what could have happened to Alonzo to cause his death, labeling it undetermined. His mother Maria Ramirez believes he was a victim of a hate crime. It’s been 16 years since Alonzo’s death and the airing of the episode has garnered a few credible leads prompting the FBI to reopen the case/ Elite Daily reports:

NBC also reported that U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister and FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan announced in a June 11 press conference that they’d be investigating Brooks’ case further. McAllister said in part:

It defies reason to believe that Alonzo’s death was a suicide or that he somehow accidentally tumbled into a relatively shallow creek, in Linn County, leaving behind his boots and hat, all with no witnesses whatsoever. 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.

To that end, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI have teamed up in reopening the case, hoping someone will come forward with new information. Even though it’s been 16 years since Brooks’ death, there’s hope Unsolved Mysteries will bring Brooks’ family the closure and justice they’ve been denied. The FBI is also offering a $100,000 reward for information about Brooks’ death.

[From Elite Daily]

This episode was probably the most tragic out of the series because neither Alonzo nor his friends were able to read the room and ascertain that Alonzo was possibly in danger at that party. Alonzo’s mother, Maria, recalls saying to her son that “not everyone is your friend and to watch your back.” His brothers joked about how they tried to toughen him up and make him a bit more street smart. His friends admitted that there was plenty of racism in that town, but it never occurred to them that their friend could be harmed because of it.

I can’t fathom what Alonzo’s family has gone through these last 16 years, but I hope that if it was foul play that the perpetrators are brought to justice and the Brooks family can gain closure in knowing what actually happened to Alonzo that night.



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23 Responses to “Alonzo Brooks’ case from ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ has been reopened by the FBI”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    We just watched that one last night and it was tragic. The one thing that seemed clear was that he didn’t drown, but the ME’s description of the decomposition was hard to hear. The fact that the family/friends found the body so fast when cadaver dogs didn’t definitely indicated that he had just been placed in the creek, but also like the ME said, that wasn’t the easiest thing to do. There were other places they could have left the body.

    IDK, that whole episode was so tragic, and very timely in light of what is happening in the country right now, in my opinion.

    We still have the last episode to watch, the alien one was not that compelling IMO.

    • Betsy says:

      Having not watched it yet – what’s the implication with the placement of the body? Just being jerks? Who was keeping it in the meantime, and where?

      I don’t know why I keep reading these Unsolved Mysteries articles before having watched them myself.

      • Becks1 says:

        So, the body was found in a relatively shallow creek. I think the police said that it had been raining a lot when they were searching so the water was higher and that’s why they missed it, but they apparently had dogs and divers in that exact area, sooooo how did they miss it?

        so the ME was saying that if you were going to move a body (as it seems this was moved), you are going to do it in the most convenient/easiest way, and this was not. you had to trek a bit back from the road through woods to get to the creek, so you would definitely need at least two or three people to carry the body, without being seen.

        One of the theories was that it was being kept in a freezer/ meat locker, and the ME said that was possible but once it “defrosted” (that’s awful, I know) it would be hard to tell if it was every frozen, especially with the amount of composition that had taken place.

      • readingissexy says:

        I don’t know how factual this is, but folks on Reddit found a local blog that covered the Alonzo case. Sickeningly, multiple readers identifying themselves as locals (of the small town where the party was held) commented that “everyone” knows that brothers from La Cygne killed Alonzo. And they kept his body in a freezer. Fucking LOCAL LORE about killing a person of color. Makes me sick.

      • Betsy says:

        @Becks1 and @readingissexy: It’s appalling that this happened, happened at all and in 2004. This is 1960s-level racial intimidation via violence to the community, this is 1920s-level lynching. I guess I can’t say that I’m terribly surprised, though a part of me is, and it’s terrifying to think how many victims of hate crimes there are out there, unnamed in any public way. The Lynching Museum has done the Lord’s work on this, but… so many repugnant crimes happen to people with so little power (I can’t help but think how many sex workers have ended up similarly dead, albeit for different reasons, but basically for the crime of not having power.)

      • readingissexy says:

        @Betsy, yes on sex workers (and any other vulnerable community!). What is so striking to me, too, is the idea that a person of color’s death via hate crime can exist as local lore–meaning, there is an implicit acceptance that there is no justice present for bi-racial people or people of color in this area. And that local, in-power whites control law and justice. No outrage, no questioning…..implicit acceptance. Really depressing.

  2. Lisa says:

    Tragic. I hope they will finally get answers.

  3. summertime says:

    I struggled with that episode a lot. My young cousin who is more like my nephew, resembles him a whole lot. Between that and watching his friend Justin deal with his guilt it was a major struggle for me.

    • Slowdown says:

      It was a very difficult watch. We have a lot of knife crime here in London and many young men are dying. My two older sons complain that people look at them in the street with fear and contempt. When actually I fear for them all the time. And we’re white. I can’t even imagine what is like going through life fearing… a party.
      This was obviously a hate crime and now I just want to crawl in a corner and weep.

  4. Nancypants says:


    The idea about the freezer…dang. The Coroner said the body didn’t appear to be a body that had been outside and WET for a month and the mom said the same about all the stuff they got from his pockets.
    It makes you wonder why his killer(s) didn’t take his cash.

    As sad as this, the one that takes place in France was brutal.
    I hope they find X.
    They seem to have some idea where he is.
    Near the end, they kept talking about how he looks just like anyone else just Mr. Average Guy, so, it will be hard to find him. I don’t think so.
    They think he is in S. America. He has a French accent and he’d be a rather good-looking man if not for THAT BIG, GNARLY, BROKEN TOOTH/GAP in the front of his mouth. He could have had that fixed by now but he never did before.

    He and his family were disappointed that they couldn’t move to Florida as they planned. He could be in Miami. Miami is huge and he could pass as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and since he was able to learn English perfectly, he could probably pick up Spanish quickly.
    He doesn’t seem to need passports or papers of any kind to get around.
    I think he’s in Florida.

    • Becks1 says:

      They also said that he spoke Spanish reasonably well, so he could blend in almost anywhere in South/Central America or in a lot of the US.

      Maybe he had fake passports prepared? And had paid for a whole new identity prior to the crimes? But he was using his credit card pretty freely throughout France and then just stopped.

      • Nancypants says:

        I forgot they said he had passable Spanish.
        He may have obtained fake passports and such but didn’t they also speculate that he jumped a working/commercial ship? There are some unscrupulous ship captains out there who would take on a random who was willing to work.

        Very strange. He was kind of thumbing his nose at everyone when he was going through France and he did withdraw cash from the ATMs.
        He even made certain the authorities saw him carrying what appeared to be his rifle in a bag and heading out to the woods.
        Maybe he did kill himself. Maybe the body just hasn’t been found yet but if he was leaving a trail for authorities to follow, why didn’t he just shoot himself in an easy to find location? I think he’s still alive.

  5. Kriseth says:

    Honestly, it’s fishy that this police force prohibits the family from searching in the area for a month, but the body turns up right after the official search. It stinks of the good ol’ boys club protecting each other after killing an innocent man of color.

    Gives all perpetrators enough time to destroy evidence, clean the crime scene, and ruin any chances at retrieving DNA.

    • Dee says:

      The rumors of what happened to him are pretty brutal and there are family connections to the local law enforcement. I only hope someone is not afraid to come forward and expose the killers.

  6. Renee says:

    This crime happened fairly close to my neck of the woods. I truly hope the family gets some answers and closure. The lack of attention paid by investigators on this case was inexcusable. I pray the perpetrators are brought to justice.

  7. RoSco says:

    I felt like something was missing from the story. The big group they were with went to a party in a different town. Three of them lingered and we’re going to head to the part in a little bit. And then the guy who was supposed to give Alonzo a ride went to get cigarettes, which he apparently thought would take enough time that he drove for thirty minutes on a dark road before trying to turn around? That doesn’t make sense if there were going to go to the next party; why wouldn’t they pick up cigarettes on the way? I’m not saying he’s directly involved, but it feels like his story is incomplete.

    • Dee says:

      People who have been drinking and getting high don’t always make wise choices.

    • waitwhat says:

      He and Alonzo were both out of cigarettes. He drove to a store to get more, but being in an unfamiliar area and probably being buzzed he got lost. He wound up closer to their hometown so he called a friend at the party and asked them to tell Alonzo that he was not coming back so Alonzo should get a ride with the other friends at the party. I don’t know, all of his friends (save for one) seemed broken up about it, but I’m a patsy so what do I know. Heartbreaking. I’m glad to hear the case has been re-opened and I hope some local law enforcement heads roll because it was obviously a cover-up in a small town.

    • Alyse says:

      Esp noting this was a pre GPS pre iPhone time to be driving buzzed in the backwoods

  8. Monique says:

    may justice be served!

  9. Call_me_al says:

    Living the true crime coverage, Oya!

  10. Lunasf17 says:

    I grew up not far from this area and must have been in high school when this happened. I don’t really remember this case but will look it up. There is definitely a lot of racism in this area, lots of small town whites that hate anyone different. Topeka has a pretty large (for Kansas) black population if I remember correctly and I recall hearing about hate crimes and racist incidents in that area fairly often.

  11. Archie’s Puppy says:

    This reminds me of the Tamla Horsford case. That one is…loaded.