Why was the body of a young man, missing for a month, found in the same area that was searched extensively by law enforcement?
Alonzo Brooks didn’t have a single enemy. In fact, he seemed to be everybody’s “best friend.” He was a homebody who preferred being with family, listening to music, and watching sports with his buddies. Friends were always welcomed in the Brooks’ suburban Kansas home – his mom, Maria, describes her family as “a United Nations” of colors and ethnicities.
On the evening of April 3, 2004, Alonzo, and a half dozen of his buddies, jump in their cars and head to a keg party at a farmhouse, in the small, rural town of LaCygne, Kansas, about 45 miles away. Alonzo doesn’t have a license, so he rides with his friend, Justin. What they think will be just a small gathering, quickly grows into a party of at least 100 people, from nearby towns, who they don’t know. Alonzo is one of only a couple of black men there.
Alonzo’s friends say he was having a great time that night. As it grows late, Alonzo’s friends begin to leave, and each thought someone else would be giving Alonzo a ride home. The next morning, when one of the friends calls his house, Alonzo’s mother tells them that Alonzo never returned from the party, which was extremely out of character for a guy who never slept anywhere but in his own bed.
Alonzo’s friends and family race to LaCygne to search for him, but find only his boots and hat in the weeds across the road from the long driveway to the farmhouse. Nobody at the farmhouse or in the small town claims to have seen Alonzo. Rumors quickly surface that racial slurs and threats were tossed around at the party, after Alonzo’s friends left…that Alonzo was flirting with a white girl and was dragged or chased down the driveway and murdered…that he was beaten to death…that he went swimming in the nearby creek and drowned.
Although local law enforcement searches the area around the farmhouse multiple times, Alonzo isn’t found. Then a month later, when his family organizes their own search, Alonzo’s body is discovered within a half hour, in the same area the local sheriff had already searched. Alonzo is found fully clothed, laying on top of a debris pile in the creek, just 250 feet from the farmhouse. Friends and family who find him say he appeared to have only mild decomposition, considering he’d been missing for a month. This leads to more rumors that Alonzo’s body was kept in a freezer, then placed in the creek for his family to find. Although the coroner cannot confirm a cause or manner of death, the FBI has reopened Alonzo’s case and is now offering a $100,000 reward for information about his disappearance.
Rumors have filled internet message boards with claims that Alonzo’s unexplained death was a hate crime involving the area’s youth. Though law enforcement interviewed dozens of party-goers, the family is begging someone to offer up information. The silence is deafening.
UPDATE: On July 21, 2020, Alonzo’s body was exhumed from a Topeka graveyard. In April 2021, the FBI announced that the new autopsy officially determined Alonzo’s death as a homicide. The investigation is still underway. Check back here for updates.