The fourth episode of Netflix’s revival of Unsolved Mysteries, “No Ride Home,” lays out the circumstances behind the possible murder of 23-year-old Alonzo Brooks on April 3, 2004. Brooks rode with his white friends to the town of La Cygne, Kansas, to attend a large party thrown by people they didn’t know. According to Brooks’s friends, at least one instance of racial aggression occurred when another partygoer got into a verbal altercation with Alonzo.
Despite Brooks being one of three Black men at the party, his friends eventually left him at the unknown house alone. One left due to another person at the party challenging him to a fight. Another left to get cigarettes in the small country town and got lost. One friend after another miscommunicated until Brooks was left at the party with no one to take him the 50 miles back home to Gardner.
The next morning, Maria Ramirez received a phone call asking if her son made it home from the party the previous night. Upon checking, she found that Brooks was not home. After another day without a word from her son, Ramirez alerted police. Brooks’ childhood friend, Rodney English, traveled from Topeka to Gardner and asked the friends who had been at the party to take him back to the location. Once there, English found a boot and hat belonging to Brooks across the street from the party house’s driveway. A second boot was found to the right of the driveway near a creekbed, indicating they had been thrown in two different spots, perhaps by someone driving down the road. At that point, someone on a four-wheeler approached the searching friends and told them to leave.
Police searched the area around the house and found no signs of Brooks’ body. The creek running behind the party house’s property was low and any remains would have been visible. A month later, May 1, 2004, Brooks’s family decided to form their own search of the property. After less than an hour of searching, they located Brooks’ body tangled in some brush at the bottom of the creek bed. Police and searchers reiterated that Brooks’ body was not in that spot when they scoured the area.
The medical examiner was able to determine that Brooks’s body had no signs of drowning and the lack of neck tissue due to animals and bugs made it impossible to positively determine strangulation as the cause of death. Furthermore, there were no broken bones, no bruises, and no foreign bodies to point to the cause of death, prompting the medical examiner to list it as undetermined.
There were an estimated 100 people at the La Cygne party that night in April, but no one provided any useful information to the police. Sixteen years later, the “No Ride Home” episode aired and things began happening in the case. The FBI and Department of Justice became involved, offering a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of a suspect. To that end, Brooks’ body was exhumed this week.
Update: The body of Alonzo Brooks was exhumed this morning. His case was recently reopened by the @FBI who are offering a $100K reward for tips leading to an arrest. If you know something please come forward. #unsolvedmysteries #Justiceforalonzobrooks https://t.co/5l38xxFr5r— Unsolved Mysteries (@Unsolved) July 21, 2020
The FBI is pursuing Brooks’ case as a potential hate crime. Anyone with information about the case should call the FBI at 816-512-8200 or 816-474-TIPS or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
Header Image Source: Netflix