Search party finds body in creek

? The body of a man who was reported missing almost a month ago was discovered in a creek hours after family and friends began searching Saturday afternoon.

Alonzo Brooks, 23, of Gardner, was last seen at a party on April 4 near La Cygne in eastern Kansas. The 51-member search party found the body in a creek about 2 p.m. Saturday, said Alvin Brooks, a spokesman for Move Up, an urban progress group in Kansas City.

The case has been ruled a homicide, the Linn County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday.

La Cygne is about 30 miles south of Paola, near the Missouri border.

Alvin Brooks, who is not related to the victim, said the body was being taken to medical examiners in Topeka.

He said it was possible that Alonzo Brooks, who was black, may have been the target of a hate crime based on his race. Witnesses at the party where Alonzo Brooks was last seen heard other people at the party say that he wouldn’t get out alive and called him derogatory names, Alvin Brooks said.

The Linn County Sheriff’s department and other agencies including the FBI have been investigating the case. Those departments searched fields and bodies of water after the disappearance.

Days after the authorities’ initial search, Brooks said a group of loved ones conducted a similar search and found a hat and shoes belonging to the victim.

Move Up held a news conference and prayer vigil Saturday for the family after the body was found.