On July 1, Netflix released its reboot of the creepy nostalgia classic, Unsolved Mysteries.
Ah, yes. That theme song. Give me that chill down my spine. Give me that melody of impending dread. Gimme that devil’s interval tune—and yes, that is literally the musical technique used for the original Unsolved Mysteries theme song.
But except for the theme music, the nostalgia with the Netflix reboot will be short-lived.
You will not have 48 minutes packed with 4-6 different mysteries to puzzle out. You will not be seeing scripted dramatic reenactments. A host will not be prompting you with “Perhaps YOU…could help solve a mystery!” (Granted, the ghost of Robert Stack hovers over the title card—which is a real F U to Dennis Farina, by the by.)
Instead, the series has been reworked to fit current taste in true crime shows. …greaaaaaaaat. Stark and depressing. That’s totally what I wanted, thanks so much.
While I understand that the Netflix reboot is trying to strike a very serious and less hokey tone, I disagree with forgoing a host or narrator. For a show of this format, which relies on participant involvement, someone needs to be looking into the camera telling sheeple—I mean, people—what to do.
In addition, hosts add a certain reassurance to shows of this format. Consider hosts Robert Stack, John Walsh, Alfred Hitchcock, or Rod Serling. Each hosted an anthology of dread—nonfiction and fiction alike. You associate them with the dread of that show, yes. But they also provide grounding. “I’m seeing this crazy sh*t right here with you. It’s gonna be all right.”
I really recommend hopping on the YouTube and watching old Unsolved Mysteries episodes. …and yes pretty much just the Robert Stack ones (sorry, Dennis Farina).
You’ll get it all: weird deaths, aliens, demonic possession, lost loves, people feigning amnesia, people who were interviewed and said they totally weren’t murderers but later turned out to absolutely be murderers! Good old fashioned fun and creepiness, it’s just the best.
Because this is a reboot streaming in 2020, old episode topics like ‘Wanted’ and ‘Lost Loves’ are not included.
I really like the ‘Lost Loves’ segments on the old show—they were the only segments with any happiness included. They also seemed to get solved most easily. Many people are willing to identify themselves as long lost siblings from when ma sold you for corn during the Depression. But fewer are willing to say “okay, you caught me, I’m the Medusa Bandit.” Of course, the internet eliminated the future of that segment—both in making it easier to find people and in killing happiness.
The reboot’s reenactments are more tasteful and atmospheric instead of cheesy and dramatic. Which is certainly less exploitative than the original series, where actual witnesses/family members/law enforcement participated in the reenactments.
In the original series’ segments, no mystery description lasted longer than 20 minutes (and usually much shorter than that). Narrative about the mystery was limited. Interviews with witnesses were brief. Case facts were given succinctly.
In the Netflix reboot, each episode is dedicated to 1 mystery. This format change has upsides and downsides. The upside is that more relevant details about the case can be added. You can tell us more about victims, humanizing the subjects of these mysteries.
The downside is: what if the case doesn’t have a lot of details and you still need to fill 55 minutes of time? In many of these episodes, time is given to irrelevant information or high speculation in different directions.
I’m all for creepy historic hotels, but the Life and Times of the Belvedere Hotel is not relevant to Rey Rivera’s case in episode one. It is viral-video gold, but husband Rob Endres talking about dancing with a skull is not relevant to the Patrice Endres case in episode two.
The chosen mysteries for the first 6 episodes are thus:
Episode 1: Unexplained death, possible murder, no suspects
Episode 2: Abduction and murder, possible suspects.
Episode 3: A family annihilator who either got away with it and/or is dead.
Episode 4: Unexplained death, possible murder/hate crime/cover up.
Episode 5: ALIENS. There had to be at least one for a true reboot.
Episode 6: Two separate murders with identified perpetrators but no criminal charges.
My initial approach with this article was going to be summarizing each episode and giving my thoughts. I watched each episode, took notes, and sat down at my laptop to write.
Two hours later, I had written thousands of words on just 1 episode. My living room had transformed into a crazy map of red string and post-its. I was rambling to my cat about Freemasons.
Then I tried to move on to other episodes. But I got held up for a few hours having lengthy debates with friends about them.
That’s when it clicked: this is really a perfect show for us under current conditions.
We need distractions and reasons to socialize at a distance more than ever. We need something that we can mull over that isn’t the best strategy for fast, distanced grocery shopping. We need something to debate that isn’t the best way to build a mobile guillotine. We NEED shit to talk about with each other that doesn’t involve anything actually going on in front of us.
How about something lighter, more relaxing—like bizarre tragic deaths?
So for this piece, I am focusing on the 3 most mysteries episodes of the season. And no, the alien one doesn’t count.
For each episode, I’ve written a summary of the facts of the case; the crux of the mystery; my personal solution to the mystery; outstanding questions and possible answers.
Ya’ll talk and puzzle amongst yourselves as to if you agree, disagree, or are still unsure as fuck.
Spoiler: When it comes to unexplained deaths, I tend to be a real Skeptical Dana Scully. Murder is one of the least likely ways to die. I always lean for simple explanations with quirks attached rather than elaborate conspiracies.
I think for these three mysterious deaths…only one is an actual homicide.
DUN DUN DUN
Disclaimer: my summaries are based on 1 full viewing of each episode. I may be missing facts or statements made in the episodes, I may be making mistakes in my summaries. But: I think the summaries are more fun if they are a more genuine, reactionary analysis.
Let’s see if we…can help solve a mystery! (We totally won’t, but it’s fun to pretend).
Episode 1: “Mystery on the Rooftop”
Facts of the case:
○ In May 2006, Rey Rivera went missing for 8 days in Baltimore, MD.
○ Rey went missing when his wife was away on business and they were hosting a houseguest. The houseguest reported that she heard Rey get a phone call and then very quickly leave the home.
○ The call came from Rey’s workplace, Stansberry & Associates. But reportedly because the call came through a switchboard, it is unknown who called him or why.
○ Stansberry & Associates’ CEO and longtime friend to Rey, Porter Stansberry, used his position to help mobilize media for the search and offered a $1000 reward for information.
○ 6 days after he was reported missing, Rey’s car was located in a parking lot adjacent to the historic Belvedere Hotel. Based on a ticket placed on the car, the car had been there since the day Rey disappeared.
○ 8 days after Rey was reported missing, 2 volunteer searchers spotted a punctured hole in a part of the Belvedere property, an auxiliary conference room / old racquetball court. That conference room is situated between the main hotel building and the parking lot.
○ Near that hole, Rey’s flipflops, cellphone, and glasses were recovered. Those items were recovered with minimal to no external damage.
○ Inside the conference room, Rey’s body was recovered. Based on decomposition, Rey’s remains had been there for a full 8 days. According to photos shown, the surrounding area had blood spatter.
○ The ME ruled Rey’s cause of death as ‘Undetermined.’ An ‘Undetermined’ ruling means (in most US districts) that an ME cannot determine if a death is Natural, Accidental, Suicide, or Homicide.
○ Rey’s wife claims that the ME told her privately that Rey did not die from a fall. However, there is no evidence that he suffered injuries from being beaten, shot, stabbed, etc. His injuries—as far as official reports shown—seem consistent with a fall from a great height.
○ An item of Rey’s has never been recovered: an ornate money clip.
○ If Rey jumped, fell, or was pushed, there is no consensus on from where he plummeted (the hotel roof, a room, a ledge, etc). No definitive evidence (a witness, video cameras) has been found to show Rey inside the Belvedere the night that he disappeared.
○Rey and his wife moved to Baltimore for Rey to work at Stansberry & Associates. Porter Stansberry had been friends with Rey since high school and had long wanted Rey to work in his company.
○Rey had a videography and writing position. Part of his responsibility was reportedly to help improve the financial firm’s reputation. Prior to Rey starting with the firm, Stansberry & Associates was charged with fraud by the SEC and fined $1.5 million.
○ After Rey’s body was found, Stansberry & Associates reportedly put a gag order on all of its employees. What that gag order specifically pertains to is not told.
○ Porter Stansberry has not done any interviews with the media or police regarding Rey Rivera.
○ In the weeks prior to Rey’s disappearance, there were 2 triggerings of his home alarm system. The second time, it was a confirmed attempted break-in.
○ After Rey’s death, a note was located in his home. It was typed up in very small font, folded up, and taped to a wall behind a desk. The best transcript I could find of the note was (apologies) on this Reddit post. Even from the available screenshots on the Netflix episode, it’s largely incoherent.
Rey’s wife and family do not believe that Rey died by suicide. They insist that Rey had no mental health issues to speak of. If Rey did not die by suicide, how did he die and why?
Rey Rivera died by suicide on the same day he went missing, possibly as a result of unknown mental health issues and stressors from his job.
Outstanding Questions / Possible Solutions:
Why is there no evidence confirming or denying Rey was in the hotel that night?
This hotel was unaware of a hole in its roof and a dead body inside of it for 8 days—during May in Baltimore. I’m not super confident in their surveillance or security capabilities. That lack of confidence also answers questions in the segment like:
○ “How could the surveillance camera on the roof be off?” (Because as per every story I’ve ever heard involving surveillance cameras, that shit happens all the time.)
○ “The door to the roof is usually locked.” (Emphasis on Usually, eh?)
○ “He had to have known where he was going to get up there.” (Well it’s a pretty straightforward direction of UP, isn’t it?
Why would Rey die by suicide?
Anyone who works in suicide prevention will tell you: there is no one contributing factor to suicide. It does not require a person to be outwardly sad. It is not something you can just ‘make sense’ of.
It is also possible that Rey’s mental health issues were not prevalent prior to this move to Baltimore and new job. Hence: a much smaller window for Rey’s family to realize that his mental health and wellbeing were at risk.
But there are elements of the Rey Rivera case that could indicate someone at risk:
○ The note. The note’s content, creation, and concealment, to me, seems the behavior of someone who is having an erratic, likely manic, moment. Rey could have had a mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder or psychotic depression, that was undiagnosed and/or hidden from those close to him.
Some witnesses try to pass off the note as ‘just something writers do.’ Let me tell you: yeah, I have random bits of writing inside over a dozen notebooks. It’s half fan fiction, a third to-do lists, a fraction of it is PURE GOLD. But I am not printing out that random writing, typing it on teeny tiny font, and concealing it somewhere in my house. This is far from normal, rational behavior.
○ A high stress work situation. Rey had moved across the country to a new city for his job with Stansberry & Associates. He was working in a field (finance) that he had no experience in. He was then given the responsibility to help improve the reputation of a company that had been charged with fraud. And Rey was in that situation because he was invited by Porter Stansberry, the guy in charge and bearing the most responsibility for charges of fraud. Rey wasn’t just there to clean up a company’s reputation—he was charged with cleaning up his friend aka his boss’s reputation. That is a recipe for a tremendous about of stress, not just career-wise, but interpersonally.
○ A toxic work environment. What does it say about a company for it to issue a gag order to its employees the day a missing employee is found dead? Especially an employee that was supposedly good friends with the CEO. What does this say about every day treatment of its employees?
○ Additional stressors. The two triggerings of the house alarm would have been major additional stressors. A break-in, even if the perpetrator didn’t manage to access the house, can give people incredible anxiety and mental distress.
○ A minimum timeline of mental distress. Rey’s wife specifically cites that Rey seemed to be anxious and stressed within the 2 weeks prior to his disappearance. The minimal amount of time required to diagnose someone as having depression is 2 weeks. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms like these most days or every day for two weeks, GET HELP. And this is no one’s fault, but: it does not sound like Rey was receiving or getting help for the symptoms his wife described.
Why wouldn’t Porter Stansberry or his company cooperate in this investigation?
For one thing, a firm that’s been charged with fraud and has to cough up millions in fines is not going to be welcoming to anyone poking around their operations, no matter what the reason.
And remember: Porter Stansberry was reportedly very helpful right up until Rey was found. He helped mobilize media, he offered a reward for information.
[Now you might notice that in the next couple of paragraphs, I phrase a lot of things as questions. That’s because sometimes, Dear Reader, openly making statements speculating about someone or some company’s role in a death can be construed as ‘libel’. And Your Intrepid Host has enough problems without this little blog getting sued by a certain Fraudy McFraudFace & Associates.]
○ But how is it possible that Stansberry & Associates can’t tell us who called Rey Rivera that day or why?
○ It seems like when Rey was found—and when his cause of death seemed so transparent—Stansberry & Associates closed ranks. Now why do that? Why refuse to speak to police about your good high school friend, about the man whose name was next to yours on the newsletters, the man who moved across the country to work for you?
○ Doesn’t it seem plausible that the phone call Rey received was some kind of work-related crisis? Could Rey have had an interaction related to work or with a colleague that severely impacted his stress levels? Maybe he was threatened with being fired?
○ Did someone at Stansberry & Associates hear about how Rey likely died, and thought that the company could be blamed for impacting Rey’s mental and emotional state?
If no one at Stansberry & Associates comes forward, we will never know the answers to these questions.
Why were Rey’s cellphone, glasses, and flipflops found realtively unharmed near the hole and not on his person? Where is his ornate money clip?
I have 2 thoughts here, one more plausible than the other.
For one, I want an actual math/physics person to explain some things. Could those objects have survived relatively unscathed if cushioned by a human body? Could Rey have been holding those items to make sure that they were found with him and upon impact they were dropped/scattered? Could that account for the missing money clip—it was heavier and fell differently?
My much less likely alternative thought: How likely is it really that 8 days went by and no one at the hotel noticed anything? Could those objects have been neatly left behind by Rey when he went off the roof? Could an employee have located the objects-hole-body (in that order) and said nothing? Maybe they kept quiet out of fear? Could they have tossed the belongings from the parking garage or a window onto the roof of the conference center (a height much less likely to damage the objects)? Why there and not by the body? Maybe they didn’t want to get close to the dead body—especially, again, during May in Baltimore. As for the money clip? Maybe they think it’s worth money and they take it.
The ME thought that too much information was missing to determine Rey Rivera’s cause of death. Do you agree? What details will you need to decide one way or the other? Where could we look for answers? And again: HOW ABOUT THAT NOTE?
Episode 2: “13 Minutes”
Facts of the Case:
○ In April of 2004, hairdresser Patrice Endres went missing from the hair salon she owned/solely operated. This incident takes place in Cumming, Georgia. Get all your jokes in now, because there aren’t a ton of giggles ahead.
○ At the time she went missing, Patrice was living with her 15 year old son Pistol, and her second husband/Pistol’s stepfather Rob.
○ Patrice’s last customer left at 11:27am—this was verified by cellphone records from the customer.
○ Patrice was last heard from on a phone call with a client lasting from 11:35am-11:37am.
○ Later, two separate witnesses reported seeing 3 strange things at the hair salon around 11:45am: Patrice’s car was slightly pulled out from its usual spot; an unknown car was parked in front of the salon; a woman matching Patrice’s description was in close contact with an unknown person.
○ The salon received a phone call at 11:50am. It went unanswered.
○ Later that afternoon, a client arrives at the salon and Patrice was gone. That client called 911. We do not get a timeline for when that 911 call was made and that has been driving me f*cking crazy.
○ Local police mobilized that same day to start looking for Patrice.
○ Inside the salon, all the money was out of the cash register but Patrice’s purse was still there.
○ Patrice’s husband, Rob, arrived at the salon around 2 or 3pm where police were already gathered to investigate.
○ Rob was reportedly questioned right away about Patrice’s whereabouts.
○ Rob has a gas receipt for that afternoon. The location and timestamp does not provide enough of a window for Rob to have personally been present when Patrice went missing.
○ The car spotted by witnesses was either a Lumina, a Malibu, or a Taurus. The identification differs between witnesses. THIS is why we should be required to take a class memorizing different brands of cars. We could’ve solved SO MANY crimes and instead we spent it learning different kinds of math we all forgot.
○ We are not given any indication that the person seen by witnesses matches Rob’s description. The only details we are given is that the person had about shoulder-length hair and witnesses can’t agree on the gender of the person.
○ The same week Patrice went missing, Rob changed the locks on the house that he, Patrice, and Pistol shared. Yep. Rob kicked a 15 year old kid out of his home while his mother was missing. Yep. Rob said in an interview it was because Pistol was a “mental drag.” Yep.
○ Pistol claims that prior to going missing, Patrice was planning on filing for divorce from Rob. Rob claims in his episode interview that this is the first that he is hearing about it.
○ 600 days after she is reported missing, Patrice’s body was found behind a church 6 miles from her salon. This spot is also across the street from a cemetery. (Yes, those coincidences all put together give me the willies too, but it is ONLY a coincidence, Mulder!)
○ Patrice’s body had decomposed to skeletal remains. We have little information as to cause of death. The skeleton, as far as we are told, does not have evidence of being stabbed, shot, or beaten. But: that doesn’t necessarily rule those causes of death out.
○ Due to decomposition, Patrice was likely killed the same day or very close to the day she went missing.
○ Her wedding ring was not recovered.
○ Two serial killers were active in the area at the time of Patrice’s disappearance: Gary Michael Hilton and Jeremy Jones. New rule: stay out of small towns in Georgia.
○ Jones confessed to Patrice’s murder, but the details he provided police casts doubt on the veracity of his confession. He later recanted. It’s worth noting that Jones killed another woman in Cumming within a month or so of Patrice’s murder.
○ Investigators claim that they have held onto Guilty Information, information they have not released to the public that only the killer would know. And yes, it is driving me CRAZY wondering what the Guilty Information is. AAAAH tell me, Georgia Bureau of Investigation! I won’t tell! And I definitely didn’t do it—I was in useless high school Algebra II at the time!
Pistol, Patrice’s family, and her friends all believe that Rob had something to do with Patrice’s murder. Rob lightly accuses Pistol (yes, the person who was 15 and in school at the time) but otherwise thinks it was a random perpetrator. Every true crime thing ever says that a husband, especially a second husband, and especially a husband who acts as Rob does MUST have something to do with this terrible crime. So has Rob gotten away with murder? Or did someone else?
Patrice Endres was abducted and murdered by a random perpetrator.
Outstanding Questions / Possible Solutions:
How could Rob NOT be involved? Look at this interview. Look at what a total creep he is. WTF?
Okay, I know I can’t not address the Creepy Elephant in the room aka Husband Rob.
○ He is really, really bad at not looking suspicious as fuck.
○ All of us true crime nerds raised our eyebrows when he said he’d studied criminology.
○ Rob says that he and Patrice “never argued.” Uh huuuuh. We all know that deeply unhealthy couple who “never argue” (that’s right Greg and Kathy, I SAID IT).
Rob replies to accusations that he abducted and killed his wife as: “Think what you like. … It’s physically impossible. … Nice try.” Not “It breaks my heart that people could think that of me.” Not “I loved Patrice, I would never kill her.” He seems annoyed and dismissive, like he’s been accused of gobbling down Aunt Nora’s pecan pie before supper.
Granted: Rob’s been facing these accusations for 15 years. If he’s innocent, he’s probably sick of it. But it is remarkable how Rob seems incapable of expressing appropriate emotions on camera. I’ve tried very hard to consider Rob’s statements and behavior from the point of view that “Trauma is a helluva drug.”
Maybe Rob is just a shitty person. How many people have gone missing or been killed and were in relationships with people who were terrible yet innocent of a crime?
Right, and the husband always did it, so if-so-facto, he did it, right?
Here’s the thing: Rob has an alibi with evidence. And even if he didn’t, Rob wasn’t witnessed at the scene of the abduction—but someone else was. Based on those facts and the available timeline, it doesn’t seem plausible that Rob was directly involved with Patrice’s abduction and murder.
Maybe Rob had a collaborator or hired someone to do it?
It is extremely difficult to pull off a murder for hire or collaborated murder, especially in a small town. It’s hard to cover up, it’s hard to keep everyone quiet. I find it unlikely that the GBI wouldn’t have been able to pick up either a money trail or a likely volunteer collaborator.
Why was Patrice’s car out of place?
I think that this can be best explained by a random perpetrator. This perpetrator is inexperienced, nervous. Maybe he impulsively thinks he’ll pull a carjacking or thinks Patrice will be easier to control if he makes her drive. They start in Patrice’s car–but he changes his mind. Maybe she has OnStar? Maybe she was low on gas? In any event, he forces her into his car and they depart.
And yeah, I’m assuming male pronouns. Maybe I’ve watched I Survived… one too many times, but I feel extremely comfortable assuming male pronouns for this killer. 95% of all I Survived episodes can be summed up by a woman looking into the camera going “I was just at home/at work/in public/in my car/minding my own business when this random guy did something to me that was so horrible, I later had to appear on a show called I Survived.”
Why was Patrice found in the woods?
Here’s the thing: If you only want to kill someone, you will usually kill them where they stand. Most murders happen that way, whether committed by a stranger or someone who knows you. If you are only robbing and killing her or if this is a premeditated murder, why take Patrice somewhere else?
Because there is no evidence of an attack in the salon and because Patrice was seen alive outside of the salon with the unknown person, it’s likely that she was taken while still alive.
If you abduct Patrice while she is alive, it is for 2 reasons:
1) Concealment of evidence
2) To have more time alone with her.
Rob or someone he would’ve gotten to do the job for him would have motive for 1) but not motive or time for 2).
But a random perpetrator matches both motives and would have had more time with Patrice. A random perpetrator who happens to be passing the salon, sees only 1 car in the lot, and sees an opportunity. A random perpetrator who takes the cash from the register, but decides to claim Patrice as well. He takes Patrice to an isolated place only 6 miles away. He assaults her, probably strangles her, then takes the money and wedding ring with him.
What do you think? What evidence do you think investigators are hanging on to? How many times did Rob make you throw up a little in your mouth? What’s the difference between a Lumina and a Malibu anyway?
Episode 4: “No Ride Home”
Facts of the Case:
○ In April of 2004 (apparently a REALLY bad time to not want to mysteriously vanish), Alonzo Brooks went to a party in Le Cygne, Kansas. He caught a ride there with a friend.
○ Alonzo and his friends are from Gardner, Kansas which is 47 miles north of La Cygne.
○ Alonzo’s friends took multiple cars to the party.
○ Alonzo had recently suffered an ankle injury—he was mobile but not back to 100% in terms of movability.
○ Alonzo was the only one in his friend group and at the party (reportedly of 40-50 people) who was black.
○ The party took place at an isolated farmhouse that was abandoned. One month later, 4 men were found squatting on the property but it is not clear who—if anyone—was residing on the property at the time of the party.
○ The farmhouse property was in the middle of some farmland, with a long driveway leading to a road. A creek runs under that road and along the border of the property in an upside-down L-shape.
○ At the time, a white shed was located between the back of the farmhouse and the creek.
○ According to witnesses, racial slurs regarding Alonzo were said at the party. Although: no particular person or persons are identified as the source of these slurs.
○ According to witnesses, at one point during the night Alonzo and a different partygoer had a heated moment. It reportedly did not escalate to physical violence but the two had to be separated.
○ ProTip for readers: if you go to a party and you hear racial slurs being said, leave that party immediately. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, you get the fuck away from those people. It is up to your discretion (and your own sense of safety) whether to tell them to go fuck themselves.
○ ProTip for readers: if you are in an all-white space with a black friend and hear racial slurs being said about that friend, leave that party Extra Immediately with your black friend.
○ ProTip for readers: if you give a friend a lift to a party and are leaving, tell your friend it is time to leave and take them with you or 1000% ensure that they have a way to get home safely. This rule is doubly important if your friend is the only black person in a white, racist crowd.
○ Alonzo’s white friends were unaware of the above ProTips.
○ Alonzo’s friends have said that, at the time, Alonzo seemed to be having fun and making friends at the party. They, at the time, did not worry for his safety.
○ The friend who gave Alonzo a ride to the party reportedly left the party to get something from a store, got lost, and decided to just go home. He called a different friend who arrived at the party separately to give Alonzo a ride home.
○ Ultimately due to confusion/miscommunication/nothing that is actually excusable, none of Alonzo’s friends took him home.
○ Do not be like Alonzo’s friends.
○ We do not get a time for when Alonzo was last seen, at the party or on that property. But after that night, Alonzo Brooks went missing for 27 days.
○ Alonzo’s friends and family went looking for him the morning after the party when he was not found at home or elsewhere in Gardner.
○ That same day, searchers went to the property where the party took place. Most of these searchers were black. A white man confronted them with a shotgun and ordered them to leave the property.
○ Before being confronted by the man with the gun, searchers located some of Alonzo’s belongings on the road. On the far side of the road, Alonzo’s hat and one boot were found. Between the driveway and the creek, the other boot was located.
○ Within 3 days of Alonzo being reported missing, the KBI were involved in the case. Within 7 days of Alonzo being reported missing, the FBI were also involved in the case—particularly because suspected hate crimes are under the FBI’s jurisdiction.
○ Law enforcement took over multiple searches of the area where Alonzo went missing, including cadaver dogs. They reportedly did not allow Alonzo’s family and friends to join or participate in alternative searches.
○ A rescue and dive team searched the creek bed once. They searched the creek near the roadside and across the road from the farmhouse, but not the area bordering the farmhouse property.
○ On the 27th day since Alonzo was reported missing, his family and friends were permitted to perform a search for him along the creek bed alongside the farmhouse property.
○ That same day, Alonzo’s body was located in debris in the creek behind the farmhouse and shed.
○ Alonzo’s cause of death could not be determined due to decomposition.
○ The ME notes multiple uncertain factors regarding evidence (or lack thereof) obtained from Alonzo’s remains vs the impact of decomposition.
○ There was no evidence of water found in Alonzo’s lungs.
○ The state of Alonzo’s body and effects found on his person have caused some doubt as to how long Alonzo’s body was in the creek.
○ Alonzo’s family do not believe that could have been in that area and not found during prior searching.
○ The ME allows that if, as some have suggested, Alonzo’s body was kept somewhere like a freezer for a portion of time, he would not have been able to determine that from the remains.
○ However, the ME also states that due to water tables, Alonzo’s body could have been in or out of the water for differing periods of time before being located.
○ It had rained recently when Alonzo went missing.
Alonzo’s family and friends believe that Alonzo was murdered and was the victim of a hate-crime. They also believe that local law enforcement and the surrounding community are actively concealing knowledge and evidence of the crime. What happened to Alonzo that night?
Alonzo Brooks was subjected to racist harassment the night of the party and local law enforcement did not do enough to find him, but: his death was accidental.
Outstanding Questions / Possible Solutions:
Are you serious?
How could race not be a part of this?
I think it 100% was, I just don’t think that it was the direct cause of Alonzo’s death.
○ Alonzo’s friends, who reportedly “don’t see race”, are not off the hook. They did not care about their black friend the way they should have. They seemed to have 0 concept of the actual danger of being a black man in America, especially in white spaces, especially in ‘certain parts of the country’, and especially among openly racist white people.
○ The other white people at the party—who both participated in and have clearly not said enough about how bad the harassment got—are at fault.
○ The local white law enforcement who regarded Alonzo’s family with disdain and did not adequately mobilize or investigate are at fault. While KBI and FBI were involved quickly, it seems like the actual property where Alonzo was last seen was not adequately searched.
I want to be clear: I am not saying that any of the white people connected to this case deserve charity or the ‘benefit of the doubt’. I am saying that the accident scenario is most likely given what we know and don’t know.
Alonzo does not end up dead and his body does not remain unfound for so long if it is not for systemic racism—not merely in that community, not merely in that part of the country, but throughout America.
What about the boots and the hat?
The boots and the hat told me everything. Why are they scattered like that on the road?
Well for anyone who has been bullied by assholes: assholes will take your shit and throw it around to make it a pain in the ass to retrieve them.
I think some racist shitheads at this party took Alonzo’s boots and hat from him. And that must mean that Alonzo was physically assaulted at least enough for his shoes to be taken off of him.
From there, the assailants for into a vehicle, drove off, and tossed those items on either side of the road as they leave.
Okay but how does Alonzo end up dead?
We go back to the hat and boots. Alonzo saw them go flying. It makes the most sense that Alonzo would first try to retrieve the boot that was closest to him—the boot that was also closest to the creek. Alonzo didn’t see exactly where the boot went—it was dark, he’d been drinking. He may have mistakenly thought that the boot went into the creek rather than off to the side. He walked past the boot without even knowing it.
Alonzo got near the edge of or even tried to descend into the creek. Again: it was dark. He had been drinking. He had an ankle injury. It had rained. All of those factors combined are a recipe for a terrible accident.
Alonzo fell, maybe hit his head, and died in the creek.
And this creek isn’t a little ‘crik’, you understand. The footage we’re shown is something that is definitely a hazard. You can’t walk or jump across this thing. When swollen, it appears menacing, murky, and deep.
The ME said that no water was found in Alonzo’s lungs. How could he have drowned in the creek?
Not all drowning deaths occur because fluid has entered the lungs. About half of all drowning deaths are due to a laryngospasm—often misunderstood as ‘dry drowning’. This is when your voice-box automatically spasms, shutting your throat to prevent fluid from entering while you are underwater.
How could the body not have been found for so long?
We know for a fact that the dive and rescue team was only called once and that they were looking in the opposite direction of where Alonzo’s body was found. Now: I don’t have the knowledge to say if that decision was incompetent. But I can say they were looking in what turned out to be the wrong-ass direction.
That’s the only clue the episode gives us of exactly where any law enforcement teams were looking or how much access to the property they had. It’s possible that law enforcement literally just never looked in that part of the creek.
Additionally, water tables can mess up a lot of assumptions about where a body has been and when.
Could the body have been somewhere else, hidden somewhere before being dumped where it was later found?
If Alonzo was murdered and the body was hidden somewhere, I question why the perpetrator(s) would give the body back to be found. A body is evidence. If you can hide it somewhere successfully (and 27 days seems pretty damn successful), why would you disturb it and put it somewhere to be found?
BUT I will give you, Dear Reader, thanks to a friend who pointed this out: that shed that was at the edge of the property near where Alonzo’s body was found is mighty suspicious.
○ We are told that no one had searched that shed by the time Alonzo was found.
○ I’m no lawyer, but I would think it would be VERY EASY to get a search warrant for a property that’s been abandoned except for squatters, but apparently that didn’t happen.
○ By the time this episode was filmed, that shed had been destroyed.
○ Now: I also do not know if that shed had any access at all to electricity or a generator (pretty key requirements for, say, a freezer).
What about that guy who threatened the searchers with a gun while they were looking for Alonzo?
I’ll give you three possibilities (not necessarily mutually exclusive)
1) This guy was a squatter. He’s not going to be super excited about people poking around the place (….although apparently paradoxically cool with 40-50 people coming over to party).
2) The guy is just one of many, many, many white people who will pull a gun on any black person he sees just because.
3) This guy (and possibly others) was responsible for Alonzo’s death and actively concealing the body. He chased away the searchers to further conceal the crime.
What do you think? The family feels very strongly that there was an active concealment of the body, an active cover-up by local police. But we have no whistleblowers to corroborate those claims. Sure we have the entire history of police in America, but other than that….
And those are our mysteries!
I had so many fun and engaging conversations going in circles with other people discussing just these three cases. I really recommend that you, Dear Reader, check out these episodes and dive in with others. Seriously: don’t pick these apart by your lonesome. You’ll drive yourself nuts.