© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Feds Offer $100,000 Reward In Kansas Cold Case That May Have Been Racially Motivated

Alonzo Brooks went missing on April 3, 2004 after attending a party in La Cygne, Kansas.
Alonzo Brooks went missing April 3, 2004, after attending a party in La Cygne, Kansas.

Alonzo Brooks' body was not found for nearly a month after he went missing in 2004.

The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information about a 16-year-old cold case.

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said he and the FBI reopened the investigation of Alonzo Brooks last year after finding new leads.

“His death was certainly suspicious, and someone, likely multiple people, know what happened that night. It is past time for the truth to come out,” said McAllister.

Brooks, 23, went missing on April 3, 2004, after attending a party in La Cygne, Kansas. His boots and hat were found nearby, but his body was not found until nearly a month later when his family searched the area and found him in a nearby creek.

Because of the span of time between Brook’s disappearance and the discovery of his body, an autopsy was unable to determine a cause of death.

“It defies reason to believe that Alonzo’s death was a suicide or that he somehow accidentally tumbled into a relatively shallow creek in Linn County, leaving behind his boots and hat, all with no witnesses whatsoever,” McAllister said.

The FBI said some evidence suggests that Brooks’ death could have been racially motivated.

Brooks was one of only three black people at the party in La Cygne. There were reports of racist comments and rumors that some resented Brooks’ presence there, according to McAllister.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan said he hopes the reward money will encourage more witnesses to come forward.

“This reward is a tool to be used as a catalyst to cause people to take a moment and remember that evening, to motivate them to come forward with potential information that may not have seen significant at that time, quite possibly information that they were too fearful to come forward with,” Langan said.

Brooks' parents spoke at the Thursday press conference and said they just want answers.

“ It’s been 16 years and I just want justice for me and my family to know what happened to my son and I know that someone out there knows what happened,” said his mother, Maria Ramirez.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 816-512-8200 or 816-474-TIPS. Tips can be submitted online at fbi.tips.gov.

More than ever, education lies at the intersection of equity, housing, funding, and other diverse issues facing Kansas City’s students, families and teachers. As KCUR’s education reporter, I’ll break down the policies driving these issues in schools and report what’s happening in our region's classrooms. You can reach me at jodifortino@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.