According to newly released court documents related to the investigation into the Prince’s death last year by accidental opioid overdose, his home in Paisley Park and his Minnesota recording compound were filled with “a sizable amount” of narcotic painkillers for which he did not have prescriptions. Some were hidden in over-the-counter vitamin and aspirin bottles while others were in the name of a close aide.
Information made public:
On Monday, the search warrants and affidavits from the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the continuing homicide investigation along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, were unsealed.
The mystery of where Prince got the powerful opioid fentanyl that killed him was not solved by the information in the documents. However, they did reveal that the artist, who is a strict proponent of clean living, suffered from chronic hip pain. He mixed different prescription pills in bottles for everyday products like Bayer and Aleve.
According to investigators, Prince was able to get an opiate prescription in the name of Kirk Johnson, a personal friend and employee since the 1980s.
On April 21, 2016, Johnson and others found Prince dead in the elevator of his home in Chanhassen, Minn. He supposedly took a fatal amount of fentanyl, which is used to manufacture black market counterfeit oxycodone pills and other pain relievers.
No one has been charged in Prince’s death yet. Investigators are most concerned with who obtained the fentanyl. The court records show that those who were present at the home that morning “provided inconsistent and, at times, contradictory statements.”
According to the warrants, which date from April to September of last year, investigators were looking into how much Johnson had helped Prince conceal his drug habit.
They were told by Dr. Michael T. Schulenberg, who treated Prince for the hip pain in the weeks before his death, that he prescribed him oxycodone a week before the fatal overdose “but put the prescription in Kirk Johnson’s name for Prince’s privacy.”
On the same day that prescription was filled, Prince’s private jet was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois after the singer overdosed during a flight home after a concert in Atlanta. Hospital staff were told by Johnson that Prince “may have taken Percocet,” an opioid containing oxycodone, on the plane.
Amy S. Conners, Dr. Schulenberg’s lawyer, issued a statement denying that her client had acknowledged prescribing oxycodone for Johnson that was actually intended for Prince. The statement said: “Dr. Schulenberg never directly prescribed opioids to Prince, nor did he ever prescribe opioids to any other person with the intent that they would be given to Prince.”
According to the records of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, Dr. Schulenberg has not been the subject of any disciplinary action. While, according to Conners, he has not been interviewed by investigators since the day Prince died.
Johnson had unrestricted access to Paisley Park however, he told investigators that he had limited knowledge of Prince’s dependence on painkillers. Johnson went to a local Walgreens to pick up three prescriptions issued by Dr. Schulenberg for drugs often used to treat anxiety, on the day of Prince’s death. But Johnson insisted that it “was the first time he had ever done something like that for Prince.”
Investigators found a suitcase with a name tag for “Peter Bravestrong,” an alias used by Prince, containing several prescription bottles in Johnson’s name, at Paisley Park. Police said that pills were found throughout the residence, in Prince’s bedroom and even in the laundry room
- Clayton Tyler, Johnson’s lawyer, issued a statement saying: “After reviewing the search warrants and affidavits released today, we believe that it is clear that Kirk Johnson did not secure nor supply the drugs which caused Prince’s death. There will be no further comment.”
Singer Judith Hill, who was in a romantic relationship with Prince, was also interviewed. She was among those on board the diverted flight.
Jason Kamerud, chief deputy for the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, said: “The investigation remains active at this point. We’ve gained a lot of progress over the last year, but there still is some more work to be done.”