Entertainment

The Murder of Alonzo Brooks Is Being Reopened Thanks to Netflix's 'Unsolved Mysteries'

'Unsolved Mysteries' has helped, well, solve mysteries throughout its TV entire run. The death of Alonzo Brooks is the first case to be reexamined from this batch of Netflix episodes.

unsolved mysteries
Netflix

Weeks after the premiere of Unsolved Mysteries, the long-running true crime series recently rebooted for Netflix, there's been a new development in one of the cases. According to E! News, the body of Alonzo Brooks -- the 23-year-old found dead on May 1, 2004 following his disappearance after a party on April 3 -- was exhumed from a gravesite in Topeka, Kansas as part of an ongoing investigation into his death. His story was the focus of Unsolved Mysteries episode four, "No Ride Home," which looked at many of the discrepancies in the investigation. 

The case was reopened by the FBI last year and is being looked at as a possible hate crime. "The body of Alonzo Brooks was exhumed today as part of the ongoing investigation," said a spokesperson for the Kansas City FBI to E! News when confirming the news. 

This development arrives after the FBI announced they were offering a $100,000 reward for information related to Brooks' death in June 2020. “Likely multiple people know what happened that night in April 2004,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister in a statement to People last month. “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.”

As documented in the episode and in articles about the case, Brooks attended a party in rural La Cygne, Kansas in April, 2004 with three other men, but did not return with them. He was one of only a handful of Black men at a party with over 100 other people in attendance. His mother, Maria Ramirez, reported him missing the next day and his body was discovered a month later when the family was allowed to search for him around the area where he disappeared. At the time, a coroner's report found no results and could not make a call on the cause of death. 

With the renewed interest in the case, there's hope that an answer will emerge. "We had no idea they had reopened the investigation until a couple of weeks before the show premiered," said Unsolved Mysteries producer Terry Dunn Meurer in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "I think the fact we were producing this episode shined a light on the case and helped them want to take a look at this case again. These are important cases, and we really hope that the exposure brings renewed interest and encourages viewers to come forward." More episodes of the true-crime series are coming to Netflix later this year.

As with many of the other cases featured on the series, the investigation is still developing. Anyone with information related to Brooks' death 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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Dan Jackson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He's on Twitter @danielvjackson.