It was a spring night on April 3, 2004, when Alonzo Brooks, 23, went to a party with three friends in La Cygne, Kansas. He was one of three Black men at the party of about 100 people. Later that night, his friends left the party without Brooks. The next day, however, Brooks was still not home and was reported missing. A month later, family members found his body on the banks of a creek near the house where the party took place. A cause of death could not be determined and, to this day, we still don’t have any answers as to what happened to Brooks. Some believe his death was a hate crime.
Brooks’ death was just one of six strange cases presented on season one of “Unsolved Murders.” It’s been four months since the first season aired on Netflix and while none of them have been solved yet, show creator Terry Dunn Meurer gave updates to Newsweek on where these cases stand.
Rey RiveraThe mysterious death of 32-year-old Rey Rivera is perhaps one of the strangest cases to come out of season one. Rivera was a Baltimore finance writer who was found dead after he rushed out of his home one evening after receiving a phone call. His body was found inside the roof of the Belvedere Hotel with no clues as to how he got there, how he fell, or why he was there.
“In Ray Rivera’s case, there are journalists who are very active. They have a really strong theory that Ray did not come off that roof, that he wasn’t pushed or jumped or anything, that he might have ended up in that lower level conference room by other means. They’re working on that,” Meurer told Newsweek.
“When these tips come in, they all will run through me, and I get so engaged in them. I got a tip in where somebody says, “Oh, yeah. I know that money clip. My uncle has that money clip.” And I just got on the phone and called them and said, “Tell me about the money clip.” So, I do jump in a little bit. And some of these cases are personal because I get so excited when these leads are coming in.”
Patrice EndresWhen Patrice Endres disappeared in April 2004, she left behind her car keys, purse, and uneaten lunch at her salon business. It wasn’t until December 2005 that her remains were found in a wooded area 10 miles from where she disappeared. Authorities believe Endres was taken from her Georgia salon in a span of about 13 minutes. Money was also taken from the salon cash register.
“With Patrice Endres’ case, the law enforcement, we give them a tip. But they are not going to really let us know what is going on and we suspect that they need to do their job to put the case together. We will all know probably at the same time if any of them get solved.”
Dupont de Ligonnès familyThe Dupont de Ligonnès family murders is one of the most bone-chilling murders of season one - an entire family murdered by the patriarch, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès. A descendant of an old, French aristocratic family, Xavier is believed to have murdered his entire family in April 2011 - his wife, Agnès, and his children Arthur, 20, Thomas, 18, Anne, 16, and Benoît, 13. Xavier’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
“That case had the most tips come in from all over the world. Every continent, I think, except Antarctica. We got tips about sightings of him, but what was interesting is that there was a cluster of tips that came in from Chicago. And you always look for a cluster because it means more than one person is seeing this person, and these are all unrelated people,” Meurer said.
“We had clusters in countries like Italy, and Great Britain, and France, but they did not have anything as narrowed down as Chicago and we’ve learned that there’s a large ex-pat French community in Chicago. Somebody even sent us a photo of someone who looked very much like Xavier. I actually looked at this photo and I was doing my own little “what do I think comparison.”
Alonzo BrooksSixteen years after Brooks’ body was found in a creek in Kansas, the FBI exhumed his body and are reopening the case.
Brooks’ grave was exhumed at the Topeka cemetery where he is buried in July “as part of an ongoing investigation,” FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton told CNN.
The FBI is also offering a reward of up to $100,000 to anyone who has information about Brooks’ death and is investigating the case as a potentially racially motivated crime.
“The FBI exhumed Alonzo’s body to do some additional forensic testing to see if they can find any more evidence. And I know they are interviewing people every single day. They are very active trying to solve that case,” Meurer said. “It takes a long time to put together a prosecutable case and they do not want to make an arrest and then find out that they do not have a solid case.”