KANSAS CITY, KS. (KCTV) -- A $100,000 reward is now being offered for information in connection to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the death of Alonzo Brooks.
Brooks' body was found in a creek in LaCygne, Kansas, in May 2004. He had attended a party with friends and never made it home. Then, his body was found weeks later.
The FBI is investigating the death as a "potential racially-motivated crime." He was 23 at the time of his death.
“We are investigating whether Alonzo was murdered,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said. “His death certainly was suspicious, and someone, likely multiple people, know(s) what happened that night in April 2004. 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.”
At the time, local police ruled Brooks' death suspicious. A 2004 autopsy did not determine a cause of death for Brooks.
He had been one of just three black people at the party in rural Kansas near LaCygne. Witnesses reported racial slurs, threats, and fights targeted at Brooks that night. However, an arrest was never made.
Brooks' family and friends found his body, not law enforcement. He had been missing for a month. His family has been waiting for answers ever since.
There are so many questions about that night, but for years no one would speak up about what happened. Now, the FBI and federal prosecutors are hoping that the $100,000 reward will help bring answers for the family.
On Thursday at the federal courthouse in KCK, investigators announced that the FBI is now getting involved and reopening the case.
Brooks’ family was at the courthouse, too, and said it's been a long and frustrating 16 years.
“Every day, every holiday, every birthday, we've wondered what happened to him,” said Billy Brooks, Alonzo’s father. “We'd like to know.”
“I just want justice for me, and I want to want to know what happened to my son,” said Alonzo’s mother Maria Ramirez.
McAllister said he began reopening the case last year after filmmakers approached him. Netflix is launching an unsolved mystery series covering Brooks' death in July. A filmmaker with local ties has been gathering interviews with family. McAllister said that in the process of reopening the case, investigators have discovered new information that could help bring closure.
“There have been positive developments,” he said. “It's not just rehashing old ground.”
“I'm grateful the FBI is stepping in now,” said Alonzo’s father. “We thank you.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the FBI at 816-512-8200 or 816-474-TIPS or submit a tip online at fbi.tips.gov.