Thanks to Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries reboot, true crime fans have a new batch of disappearances, deaths, and even a UFO sighting to discuss and contemplate. While Reddit theorists are still trying to guess the whereabouts of Count Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, one unsolved mystery already has a major update: the 2004 disappearance of Alonzo Brooks, the subject of the episode “No Ride Home.” The FBI exhumed Brooks’ body on Tuesday “as part of an ongoing investigation,” spokeswoman Bridget Patton told CNN.
Sixteen years ago, Brooks attended a party at a farmhouse on the outskirts of La Cygne, Kansas. According to the FBI, he was one of just three Black men out of approximately 100 guests. He was reportedly unable to find a ride home, and when he didn’t return the next day, his friends and family contacted local police. No one who had been at the party offered up any information on Brooks’ case, and eventually, a month later, his body was recovered on top of a pile of branches in a nearby creek. Many people, including Brooks’ mother, Maria Ramirez, believe Brooks was the victim of a racist hate crime.
Unsolved Mysteries executive producer Terry Dunn Meurer told Variety that of all six episodes, Brooks’ story is the one that’s garnered the most emails and tips since the show began streaming. “We’re told that, when we were producing the episode over a year ago, the FBI started to look at [the case] again and reopen it,” Meurer said. Just last month, the FBI announced a $100,000 reward for any partygoer with more information. Meurer, along with Brooks’ family and friends, hope this entices people to come forward with more tips.
One of the biggest remaining mysteries is how long Brooks’ body was left at the creek. “We just got a tip from an entomologist,” Meurer said. “She was looking at these photos of Alonzo’s clothing and there were maggots on that clothing. She said those maggots often can tell a story of how long that body had been exposed.”
The Department of Justice and the FBI first reopened Brooks’ case in 2019. “His death certainly was suspicious, and someone, likely multiple people, know(s) what happened that night in April 2004,” wrote U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister at the time. “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.”