Update: KSNT reported on Tuesday that Alonzo Brooks' grave has been exhumed as the FBI continues to investigate his 16-year-old case.
Earlier: The FBI and Department of Justice have reopened the cold case of Alonzo Brooks, which is featured in the new season of Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries. According to NBC affiliate KSNT News, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister and FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan made the announcement on June 11 in Kansas City, citing new leads. Langan also revealed that the FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 to anyone who has information about Brooks' disappearance.
"We are investigating whether Alonzo was murdered," McAllister said, per KSNT. "His death certainly was suspicious, and someone, likely multiple people, know(s) what happened that night in April 2004. 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."
Brooks, then 23, initially disappeared in April 2004 after attending a rural house party in La Cygne, Kansas. Brooks' mom, Maria Ramirez, later explained to KSNT News that a friend drove him to the party, but he left when someone challenged him to a fight. After Brooks failed to return home, his family called the Linn County Sheriff’s Department, which launched a search. His body was found in a creek almost a month later.
Due to advanced decomposition, an autopsy ruled Brooks' cause of death as inconclusive. However, because of various eyewitness accounts of fights breaking out and reports of racist comments, coupled with the fact that Brooks was one of only three Black men at the party, the FBI is now investigating Brooks' death as a potential hate crime.
Brooks' mother has long believed that to be the case. "I’m Mexican and his father is Black," Ramirez recently told NBC's Dateline. "So he's mixed. They didn't just target one race. Or kill one race. They killed two. He was targeted because of the color of his skin."