Kansas case featured in Unsolved Mysteries ruled a homicide

Andrew Bahl
Topeka Capital-Journal
The FBI is investigating the 2004 death on the outskirts of LaCygne of 23-year-old Topeka High School alumnus Alonzo Brooks, shown here.

New evidence has uncovered what the family and friends of Topeka High alumnus Alonzo Brooks had suspected for 16 years — that he was a victim of homicide.

A federal forensic examiner reached that conclusion using results of an autopsy conducted last year using Brooks' exhumed remains, which found injuries "inconsistent with normal patterns of decomposition," the FBI said in a news release Monday.

"Finally what we’ve been waiting for," said a message posted in response on the "Justice for Alonzo Brooks" Facebook page. "Justice is coming for you!"

Monday's announcement marked the latest development in a longtime mystery that began when Brooks, 23, vanished in April 2004 after attending a farmhouse party near LaCygne, a rural Linn County community about 70 miles southeast of Topeka.

At the time, Brooks lived at Gardner in Johnson County, where Topeka Capital-Journal archives show he had moved with his mother about 18 months before he died.

Brooks was one of only three Black people to have been attending the party at the farmhouse. FBI officials said they are investigating whether the crime was racially motivated.

After his friends left the party, Brooks had no transportation home. A search near the farm initially did not find him, with a subsequent search four weeks later uncovering his body.

An initial report from local and state authorities was inconclusive about Brooks' cause of death.

The FBI announced in 2019 it was reopening its investigation into Brooks' death. His story was featured last year on an episode of Netflix's “Unsolved Mysteries."

Last July, Brooks' remains were exhumed from Topeka's Mount Calvary Cemetery and taken to be examined at Dover Air Force Base for examination by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.

In a statement Monday, Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard said that law enforcement "will spare no resources to bring those responsible to justice.”

"We knew that Alonzo Brooks died under very suspicious circumstances,” Slinkard said. “This new examination by a team of the world’s best forensic pathologists and experts establishes it was no accident."

The FBI has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to a successful arrest and conviction in the case. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the FBI at 816-512-8200 or 816-474-TIPS or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.