Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Culture | By Ray Hoffman

A year on, few answers from probe into Prince's death

A year on, few answers from probe into Prince's death

Several bottles of opioid painkillers - some of them prescribed to one of Prince's friends - were found at the singer's Paisley Park complex shortly after his death by accidental overdose, court documents unsealed Monday show.

One affidavit says Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, a family doctor who saw Prince April 7, 2016, and again on April 20, acknowledged to authorities that he prescribed oxycodone for Prince the same day as the emergency plane landing "but put the prescription in Kirk Johnson's name for Prince's privacy".

The documents pertain to the first six months of the investigation into Prince's death at his Minnesota estate a year ago from an overdose of the powerful narcotic fentanyl. In October 2016 it was termed "an active homicide investigation" in the documents, but no one has been criminally charged.

The medical examiner's office said Prince died of an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune last August quoted a source with knowledge of the investigation as saying that pills seized by investigators at Prince's home were labeled as hydrocodone but actually contained fentanyl.

But the circumstances that led up to his death remain a mystery. And how long was he taking opioid pain medication?

FILE - In this April 21, 2016, file photo, a rainbow appears over Prince's Paisley Park estate near a memorial for the rock superstar in Chanhassen, Minn. They cite the complexity of tracking illegally obtained pills, the need to be sure before they issue subpoenas, and the high stakes for investigators and prosecutors, who don't want to suffer an embarrassing defeat in a high-profile trial.

The documents suggest Prince was struggling with prescription opioid addiction. "You know, your joints get, you know, hurt".

The documents say some of the drugs in Prince's bedroom were in a suitcase with the name "Peter Bravestrong" on it. Police believe Bravestrong was an alias that Prince used when he traveled.

Johnson's lawyer did not return calls for comment on Monday.

The incident occurred just days before his death.

Kornfeld told investigators Bekure and Johnson began search for Prince in the studio.

Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park on April 21.

The B12 detail was included in a detective's affidavit seeking one of the search warrants. Authorities asked that the search warrants be sealed "until April 17, 2017 or when a criminal case may be instituted, whichever occurs first". Prince's private jet made an emergency landing at the airport in Moline, Illinois.

- The Minnesota doctor who saw Prince twice in the days before his death had prescribed oxycodone in the name of longtime friend Kirk Johnson to protect Prince's privacy, according to investigation documents unsealed Monday. At the time, Prince's publicist said the musician was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Recovery Without Walls is a California-based prescription drug and alcohol addiction program run by Dr. Howard Kornfeld.

Kornfeld told detectives that he had drugs in his backpack to help Prince, but would not have administered them without a doctor present.

But by the time Andrew Kornfeld arrived at the singer's Paisley Park complex on the morning of April 21, it was too late.

A suitcase was discovered next to Prince's bed on the day he died and among the items inside, there were prescription pill bottles in Johnson's name - none of which were the medication prescribed by Schulenberg.

Like this: