The case of a Black man who died following a party in rural Kansas more than 16 years ago has been ruled a homicide after his body was exhumed as federal authorities investigate his death as a possible hate crime.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday that a new autopsy on the body of Alonzo Brooks concluded the cause of death was homicide. His body was exhumed last year from a Topeka cemetery and transported to Dover Air Force Base for an examination.
Brooks was 23 when he disappeared after attending a party near La Cygne, Kansas, in May 2004. His family later found his body in a creek near where the party was held.
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The FBI reopened the investigation in 2019 and offered a $100,000 reward for information.
Federal authorities say Brooks’ death was possibly racially motivated. He was one of only three Black people at a party attended by about 100 people at a farm near La Cygne.
“We knew that Alonzo Brooks died under very suspicious circumstances,” Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard said in a news release. “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.”
The new autopsy focused on injuries to parts of Brooks’ body that the examiner concluded are inconsistent with normal patterns of decomposition, the FBI said.
“The FBI’s commitment to justice remains at the forefront of each and every investigation,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan. “Our reach is broad, and the strength of our investigative tools are exceptional. We remain dedicated to uncovering the truth surrounding the murder of Alonzo Brooks and ensuring those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”