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Autopsy determines homicide in 17-year-old cold case

The body of 23-year-old Alonzo Brooks was found in a creek in La Cygne, Kansas in 2004.
The body of 23-year-old Alonzo Brooks was found in a creek in La Cygne, Kansas in 2004.
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 3:40 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KWCH) - The death of a Kansas man whose body was found in a creek in La Cygne, Kan., in 2004 was a homicide, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a news release Monday (April 5), citing a new report by a federal examiner.

As part of the continuing federal investigation of Alonzo Brooks’ death, his body was exhumed and transported to Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware.

As part of a continuing federal investigation of Alonzo Brooks’ death, his body was exhumed and transported to Dover Air Force Base for examination by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner. The examiner’s report concludes that the cause of death was homicide.

“We knew that Alonzo Brooks died under very suspicious circumstances,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard. “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 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.”

The new autopsy focuses on injuries to parts of Brooks’ body that the examiner concluded are inconsistent with normal patterns of decomposition. Details of the examination are being withheld for investigative purposes. In 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas and the FBI reopened the investigation of Brooks’ death, which had been dormant for years. As part of the new investigation, the FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Brooks’ death.

“In the initial investigation, a coroner in Linn County said he was unable to determine a cause of death and witnesses’ interviews failed to produce any arrests,” the FBI said. “The new investigation is focused on determining whether Brooks, an African-American who was 23 years old when he died, was the victim of a racially motivated killing. Brooks was last seen alive in April 2004 during a party at a house on the outskirts of La Cygne. He was one of only three African-American men at the party, which 100 or more people attended.”

Brooks, who lived in Gardner, rode to the party with friends, the FBI said. They left before him and he ended up not having a ride home. When Brooks didn’t come home the next day, family and friends contacted the Linn County Sheriff’s Office. After Brooks had been missing for nearly a month, a group of family and friends organized a search during which Brooks’ body was found, partially on top of a pile of brush and branches in the creek.

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.

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