Hello my loves,
For today’s instalment of the BLM Series we’re going to be talking about a man named Alonzo Brooks, whose case was brought to my attention when I was watching a Netflix series called Unsolved Mysteries, and one of the episodes (No Ride Home) was dedicated to him.
There are certain areas of this case where different versions of information are provided (though they’re not huge discrepancies) however, I will primarily be using information from the Unsolved Mysteries episode as this information was given directly by his family and friends and people who were with him that night, which I believe is more reliable than the things stated in news reports. I will of course still mention both versions of the information though, just in case.
There’s certain bits of (important) information I feel were personally missed in the documentary as I had a lot of questions afterwards that went unanswered however, I guess there is only so much information you can include in a 50 minute episode. The details I believe are missing I cannot find anywhere on the internet as the internet coverage is only really based off of the episode, therefore I will try and highlight these pieces of missing information as I go.
Alonzo Tyree Brooks was born on May 19th, 1980 and grew up in Topeka, Kansas. He was born to Billy Brooks Sr and Maria Ramirez – his father was Black and his mother was Mexican. He was the youngest of five children, having one older brother – Billy – and three older sisters, 2 of whom (Demetria and Felicia) were featured in the Unsolved Mysteries documentary.
Alonzo, more commonly known to his friends and family as Lonzo or Zo, was a well-mannered, laid back person. As a child he was polite and loved karate, he was sweet and shy but also playful.
He loved football, he was easy going and was known as the type of person to get along with everyone as he was so easy to talk to. He was very particular about his looks, always having to have his shorts and pants creased up, his sister laughingly recalls the fact he was a “neat-freak” – everything had to be kept clean and everything had its own place. His favourite colour was red and therefore he was almost always wearing red or black clothing, he always wore two pairs of socks and was never seen without his signature beanie and hat combo. He had an infectious, crazy laugh that’s claimed by most people to be one of the things they miss most about him now. He was a good guy who loved his family and would always, always, come back home every night, no matter where he’d been or how far he’d gone.
That was until, the night of April 3rd, 2004, when Alonzo Brooks would never return home.
At the age of 18, Alonzo moved with his mum to Gardner, Kansas, a primarily white area and, from the mouths of his own friends, the area only got whiter the further South you went. In other words, it was incredibly racist.
On the night of April 3rd 2004, 23 year old Alonzo and 3 friends – Justin Sprague, Daniel Fune and Tyler Broughard (all of whom were white) travelled to a party that was taking place 47 miles (over an hour) away in a very small “all white dominant” town called La Cygne. There was pretty much nothing to say about this town other than the fact it was in the middle of nowhere – there was one gas station, no grocery store, and hardly any houses.
The party was taking place at a rural farmhouse that was being rented out, and according to Alonzo’s friends, there were between 30-50 people (between the ages of 16-21) at the party however, federal officials have claimed there were around 100. All of these party-goers were white however, again, news reports state that Alonzo was one of three black people at the party. Either way, we can conclude that this party was most definitely, predominantly white.
The four friends didn’t know anyone at this party minus a handful of people they knew from their hometown of Gardner. According to Justin it wasn’t a pre-planned thing that they’d been talking about attending for weeks, it was more of a spur of a moment decision on the day like “Hey, there’s a party happening in La Cygne tonight, wanna go?”
Alonzo travelled to the party with Justin, with Daniel and Tyler arriving a little while later. Justin says that as soon as they pulled up onto the driveway, Alonzo was immediately out of the car shouting and asking everyone who wanted a beer, which was his way of breaking the ice and initiating contact.
Alonzo was usually more of a reserved person, but his friends said that that night he was incredibly outgoing and having a great time. He was dancing and chatting away and seemingly feeling very confident, which was nice for them to see. Daniel and Tyler who arrived later than Alonzo confirmed this, saying that by the time they arrived Alonzo was well into the full-swing of the party and seemed to be having a great time.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly until a while later, when Daniel said that after getting up to talk to somebody after sitting with Alonzo at a table drinking and talking for a while, he turned back around to see a white male squaring up to Alonzo, clearly because he had a problem with the colour of his skin. Daniel intervened and broke the pair up before things could go further, and after that things seemed to go back to normal, apparently Alonzo went back to having a great time and there were no further problems throughout the night. Upon watching the Unsolved Mysteries episode, his friends originally said that there was no animosity in the air and the atmosphere wasn’t uncomfortable after this however, Daniel did confirm that there were definitely racist people at the party, and news reports later state that racial slurs were being thrown around that were directed at Alonzo. Apparently Alonzo was not the type of person to back down from this, and definitely would have said something however, it wouldn’t have ruined his mood and he would have been determined to continue having a great night.
At around 11pm after only being at the party for 45 minutes to an hour, Tyler left, and around 30-45 minutes after that, Daniel left the party to attend another one nearby. They both remember saying goodbye to Alonzo before they departed, and confirmed that he seemed to be in good spirits and was having a great time.
Since Justin and Alonzo had arrived at the party together, Justin was Alonzo’s ride home. Justin said he’d smoked his last cigarette and asked Alonzo if he had another one, only to be told that Alonzo was out of them too. Alonzo then told Justin that if he was going to buy some cigarettes to also get him a pack, and so Justin drove off to the nearest store to buy some, leaving Alonzo by himself at the party however, Alonzo was not bothered by this as he was already having a good time and chatting to lots of people and of course, Alonzo had pretty much encouraged Justin to go to the store as he also wanted a packet of cigarettes for himself.
The driveway leading up to the farmhouse was a long gravel road, and instead of taking a left at the end of it, Justin took a right instead and subsequently got lost. He ended up getting his car stuck on some gravel roads and ended up 30 minutes North of where he was supposed to have been. He called a friend who was also at the party and asked him to pass a message on to Alonzo that he’d gotten lost, he said he could hear Alonzo “talking shit” in the background of the call about the fact he’d gotten lost and therefore wouldn’t make it back to the party. It was decided at that point that their friend Adam, would be the one to give Alonzo a ride home.
Later that night when Adam was about to leave the party, he said he believed Alonzo had already left or that they’d already missed each other, and therefore Adam went home alone.
This is one of the pieces of information that wasn’t in the documentary but that I’d like to know – what time did Adam leave the party? Alonzo of course hadn’t left the party because he never returned home, but Alonzo was clearly not there at this point which is what lead Adam to believe he’d already left, so what time was this? Who was still at the party during this time? Were the remaining people questioned so a timeline could be created to determine at which point Alonzo had gone missing? Who was the last person to see him? What was he doing? Who was he with?
The next morning on April 4th, Alonzo’s mum received a call to ask if Alonzo was home – when she’d checked his room and the basement to confirm that he was in fact not there, everybody began ringing around to see if they could locate him.
Rodney English, Alonzo’s best friend, met up with Justin in Gardner, and they drove to the farmhouse in La Cygne where the party had been held. After searching around for a while, Rodney decided to walk to the end of the driveway and cross the road to see if he could find anything and ended up finding Alonzo’s beanie hat and a single boot. Alonzo’s other boot was located in the opposite direction on the side of a creek bank. Rodney said it looked as though somebody had driven down the driveway, threw the hat and boot out of the window, and as they had taken the right turn, threw the other boot out onto that side.
Were these items ever DNA tested and / or examined? What became of them?
After this, a man drove out from the farmhouse and told the group of friends they had to leave.
Another question – who was this man? The way this information was presented, he either owned the farmhouse or was the father of someone who had thrown the party at the farmhouse etc. It sounds like he told the group they had to leave because he was trying to hide something, or he knew something had taken place and didn’t want anyone snooping around. This man was we can assume, white.
Alonzo’s mum went to the police station to report her son as missing, and was told she had to wait 48 hours before being able to do so. Alonzo’s brother Billy and his wife also tried to report him missing and were told by sheriffs that he would “show up soon, he was a kid probably just walking around, doing what kids do.”
A week before the party, Alonzo had hurt his ankle playing basketball and consequently had been walking with a limp ever since. The sheriff was essentially saying that Alonzo was walking around in the middle of nowhere with a messed up ankle, with no shoes on and after the fact it had been heavily raining.
Meanwhile, Billy and his wife also drove out to the farmhouse to have a look around. Billy’s wife said that looking through the windows of the house, it looked as though no party had taken place there the night before – it was empty. Aka, had there been a cleanup mission to destroy evidence? Billy also said that while he and his wife were driving around La Cygne, everyone (the white residents) were staring at them as if to say they were unwelcome and should not have been there.
There was a creek bed behind the farmhouse which police officials walked that night (April 4th) to search for any signs of Alonzo, and they found nothing. According to them, there were “no signs he was outside anywhere”.
Three days later on April 7th, the case was turned over to the KBI – the Kansas Bureau of Investigations. Within a few days, an extensive search was done of the area surrounding the farmhouse and nothing was found. On April 10th, the FBI also joined in on the search for Alonzo.
At this point, rumours were circulating that Alonzo could have been the victim of a hate crime. As stated earlier, according to witnesses at the party, Alonzo was threatened and had become the target of racial slurs.
On April 12th, a rescue and dive team were brought in to search along the creek bed (which had already been done multiple times at this point) and inside the creek itself. The water was only 3 feet high in the deepest parts during this time, and the bottom was visible in some areas. Nothing was found to indicate that there was a body in or near the creek at all. Alonzo was nowhere to be found.
Hundreds of interviews were conducted by the KBI and FBI with those who attended the party that night and they uncovered nothing. They gained no information whatsoever. Personally, this to me is ridiculous because someone must have seen something. Something happened to this man at that party, by the people who were there, yet the FBI conduct hundreds of interviews and discover…nothing? I cannot understand how they can simply accept that as an answer and just walk away. A black man goes to a white party in a racist area and subsequently goes missing, and you allow these people to simply just lie and hide their way through the interview process because they all claim they don’t know anything about it? Poor, poor police work. Absolutely ridiculous. A lot of people lawyered up (why?) and also never had to take lie detectors (again, why?).
The police kept pushing the idea that Alonzo had simply just gotten drunk, took his shoes off and decided to walk home. There is no way that a man in the middle of nowhere with a messed up ankle is going to randomly decide to take his boots off and try to walk 47 miles back home, especially when this was nothing like his character in the first place. He would never do this.
The police would not let Alonzo’s family go out to the farmhouse and search for him themselves, despite them constantly asking. Eventually, a month (27 days) later on May 1st 2004, the police finally allowed Alonzo’s family to go out to the farmhouse and search. Friends, family and volunteers all gathered together to search for Alonzo.
A couple of volunteers wanted to search a white shed near the farmhouse that had not yet been looked at – it was locked and had not been touched and these volunteers could not understand why this shed hadn’t been looked into, it needed to be searched. Upon heading towards the shed, Karen Turner, a volunteer, suddenly saw something I’m sure she wish she had not seen.
She had found Alonzo.
His body was lying on the side of the creek bed. He was fully clothed and still had all of his personal belongings on him – a ring, his wallet, his ID, his papers, money, a lighter etc.
Due to the decomposition of the body it was difficult to determine the cause of death, but the medical examiner was fairly certain it was not due to any penetrating injuries as there were no gunshot wounds, stab wounds or any bone fractures or breaks to Alonzo’s body. It’s possible he could have drowned, but there were no specific signs that showed this could have been the cause of death – for example, there was no water in his lungs or airways. It was also very possible that he could have been strangled, but there was no way to know for sure since animals and insects had gotten to the soft tissues in his neck and therefore these were now gone. If he had been beaten to death, this was not determinable either as there was no evidence of it remaining on his body. There was no way to prove whether Alonzo had been murdered or to conclude how he had died. His cause of death was listed as undetermined.
Personal note here – I do not like the medical examiner in this case, to me he seems very blasé about the whole thing and the way he presents his information to me personally seems as though it deliberately favours the police’s version of events which is that Alonzo died of natural causes because he tried to walk home drunk but accidentally drowned or something along those lines. This man is also white.
There are a lot of theories as to what happened to Alonzo Brooks and what took place at the farmhouse that night. Police revealed that there were in fact a couple of fights that took place at the party later that night – when people are drinking and tensions are running high, no one knows what could happen. If a single black man is surrounded by white people at a white party in an incredibly racist area, to me that man is not safe. There’s a predominant rumour that Alonzo and a white female were flirting with each other at the party and other white (male) party-goers didn’t like this at all, which could have been the catalyst for something to happen.
Who was this girl? Was she interviewed? Questioned? How can the FBI not have any information on this girl when she could have been the last person to see Alonzo alive? Why is there no information on this at all? Why is this not being looked into?
Sheriff Stites, whose crew had been at the creek and had searched it multiple times before, said that Alonzo’s body “was absolutely not where it was now at the time law enforcement was there”. Meaning that either someone had placed Alonzo’s body there after the fact, or the police were hiding something, or both. Personally I’m inclined to go with the former, but who knows. What we do essentially know though, is that Alonzo’s body had not been in the place where it was found prior to May 1st when his family searched the area. Someone or something, had moved him there. For example, if he had been in that spot when the dive team came and searched the creek on April 12th, he would have been found that very day.
The medical examiner said it was possible Alonzo could have floated down the creek when there had been higher water levels after a rainstorm and therefore his body could have moved from one place to the next. However, according to Billy, Alonzo did not look bloated at all from having been submerged in water and his body and skin seemed to look as though it was in normal condition. It did not look like a body that had been submerged in water. The medical examiner also said there were no signs of Alonzo’s body being waterlogged, which relates back to what I mentioned earlier when I said that it was a possibility he could have drowned, but this was very unlikely as he had no water in his lungs or airways. To add to this, none of the items found on Alonzo’s body had any signs of water damage and were still very much intact, including physical papers that most definitely would have been ruined had he been floating in the creek at any point. Alonzo was missing for a month and therefore supposedly would have been in the creek the entire time, but none of these facts supported that theory or showed any signs that this was in fact what had happened.
Alonzo’s family believe that his body had been placed in / near the creek after the last search – the one that was done before the family were allowed to do theirs. Billy believes that after asking Sheriff Stites if they could do their search, Stites must have told someone who told someone else and since La Cygne is such a small town, word had gotten around that the family and friends were going out searching and therefore whoever had Alonzo’s body and had done this to him thought that now was the perfect time to bring his body to the creek to be found.
Because otherwise, where was Alonzo for 27 days from April 4th when he went missing, to May 1st when he was found?
Something else I’d like to point out here which I’m not so clear on, is the decomposition of the body. The medical examiner speaks as though Alonzo’s body was already pretty decomposed, but everyone else, including the family (who saw the body themselves) speak as though Alonzo’s body was pretty well preserved – his features were all there, his skin was of a normal colour, there was no rotting etc. – they speak as though this was definitely not a body that had been lying out in the open, exposed to the elements for a whole month.
Which is why I’d like to talk about another theory, that Alonzo’s body was possibly stored in a meat locker or a freezer before it was eventually placed at the creek to be found by his family. The medical examiner says there’s no way to tell whether a body has been frozen or not unless you find it immediately upon thawing which, I completely understand, however, if the body looks to be well preserved and not as though it’s been out in the open exposed to the elements for a month, surely this gives some indication that it may have in fact, been frozen or stored in a freezer at some point? But of course, the medical examiner claims not to know.
The medical examiner doesn’t seem to know pretty much anything, to be honest. This is what’s confusing and another reason I don’t 100% trust what he says. I of course, am not an expert in this area nor do I have any idea about this type of stuff, but considering Alonzo’s body upon finding it did not seem to be very decomposed at all, the medical examiner seems to think it was “significantly decomposed” and therefore he cannot determine anything from it. He cannot tell this or that, he does not know if it was one thing or another…he cannot seem to be able to tell anything from a body that was seemingly well preserved hence why the theory of it being stored in a freezer came up in the first place. Medical examiners in cases where bodies have been further decomposed than this have been able to determine and discover a lot more, so I do not understand the medical examiner in this case. I find him very suspicious.
He also said the following –
“Alonzo’s body was consistent with having been in the creek for 30 days. It could’ve been shorter” – ???? so…it could’ve been in the creek for 30 days but it also could’ve been less time than that???? Again, he can’t determine. If you can’t determine there’s no point saying anything at all in my opinion. He says it was consistent with being in the creek for 30 days yet there’s no water damage to Alonzo’s body ????????
“I don’t know the circumstances in which he ended up in the creek so I can’t tell you if he placed himself in that environment or somebody else did.” – ????
He also pushes the theory that Alonzo was where his body was found the entire time and that he had never been moved, as “moving a dead body is an inconvenience and highly improbable, and we know murderers don’t do that.” – I personally just find the whole thing very strange. This man is coincidentally incapable of doing what he’s being paid to do.
In March 2019, the KBI released a statement about Alonzo’s case, stating the following –
“The KBI was one of the several law enforcement agencies who investigated the April 4th death of Alonzo Brooks. Over the years, a great deal of unsubstantiated information and rumours circulated relating to his death. No evidence or information gained throughout the lengthy investigation indicated that Alonzo Brooks was the victim of a crime. For this reason, the investigation into his death was closed.”
No evidence or information gained throughout the lengthy investigation indicated that Alonzo Brooks was the victim of a crime.
Yeah, I’m not sure I agree with that one.
Something happened to Alonzo Brooks on the night of April 3rd that was not the result of his own actions, and this man and his family deserve justice. This is foul play. This is a hate crime. This is murder. This was a racially motivated murder and I do not understand how the KBI can state otherwise. There are endless theories as to what happened that night and unless someone comes forward with information, we’ll never know for sure. To see the heartbreak and anger in his mother’s eyes as she talks about her murdered son is simply unbearable, and I pray that this woman gets the answers she deserves.
A popular theory that often gets talked about is regarding the three friends that were with Alonzo that night, and how people following this case have found discrepancies in their stories –
- They talk about how they didn’t ever really think about race. Bullshit, I have a lot of black friends and where these lived, they would be called all sorts of things for hanging out with a black guy.
- These guys left Alonzo at a party they knew no one at besides each other.
- 2004 wasn’t exactly the height of cell phones. How did they communicate? Justin’s “got lost” and then “got stuck” was convenient. He called to say he wasn’t coming back and asked his friend Adam to take Alonzo home?
- This is the middle of no where. Where was Justin planning on getting a pack of smokes from? He already said he didn’t know the town and small towns… this was after 11:00pm. Where was he going to get smokes after 11:00pm in a small town that probably closed at 8:00pm?
- If this town is small, and even if Justin had a cell phone, out in the middle of no where and he had reception? Maybe, that might be plausible, but even today I have shitty cell reception in places like this.
I personally do not believe any of the three guys that were with him that night had anything to do with his disappearance, but I thought this was worth mentioning anyway as there were still some good points raised here.
On June 11th 2020, the FBI re-opened Alonzo’s case and have issued a $100,000 reward to anyone with information regarding his death.
If anyone has any information on the death of Alonzo Brooks they’re encouraged to call the FBI Kansas City field office on 816-512-8200 or the tip hotline at 816-474-TIPS. Alternatively, they can submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov or go to unsolved.com.
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