MINNEAPOLIS – Prince was found dead of an accidental overdose of the powerful painkiller fentanyl on April 21, 2016. Several key people had contact with Prince before his death, and were involved in the investigation that followed. Here are some of the key names in the case:
Kirk Johnson was Prince’s longtime friend, bodyguard and sometimes drummer. He was also estate manager at Paisley Park and one of three people who found Prince’s body in an elevator there. Documents released in support of search warrants say Johnson contacted Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg to help Prince with hip pain. Johnson was also on an airplane that had to make an emergency stop in Moline, Illinois, when Prince overdosed on the night of April 14 into April 15, 2016. At the time, Johnson told hospital staff that Prince might have taken Percocet. Johnson has declined to talk about Prince’s last days. Several prescription bottles bearing Johnson’s name were found in Paisley Park after Prince’s death. Johnson has remained involved with Paisley Park, and is listed as a speaker at events marking the two-year anniversary of Prince’s death this week.
DR. MICHAEL TODD SCHULENBERG
Prince met Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, a family care physician, twice in the month before his death, including the day before Prince was discovered unresponsive. According to a search warrant, Schulenberg told a detective he had at one point prescribed Prince medications that Johnson picked up at a Walgreen’s pharmacy. Court documents also allege that on April 14, Schulenberg wrote out a prescription for oxycodone and put it in Johnson’s name, intending the drug to go to Prince. His attorney has disputed that claim. A laboratory report obtained by The Associated Press says one of the pills that investigators found in a prescription bottle with Johnson’s name contained oxycodone. Schulenberg also ran unspecified tests on Prince and showed up at Paisley Park on the day Prince died.
Prince’s representatives reached out to Howard Kornfeld, a northern California doctor who specializes in addiction treatment and pain management, the day before Prince was found dead. Kornfeld has championed the use of buprenorphine, a drug that often is used to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings from opiate addiction. The doctor sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, with a small dose of buprenorphine in an effort to convince the musician to seek long-term care at his Recovery Without Walls centre in Mill City, California. The younger Kornfeld, a pre-med student, was one of the three people who found Prince dead.
Prince’s death has been investigated primarily by the Carver County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The day after Prince was found dead, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said investigators would “leave no stone unturned.” The decision on state charges was up to Carver County Attorney Mark Metz, who was first elected in 2010. The decision on any federal charges was up to U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker, who took over the federal prosecutor’s office for Minnesota almost a year after Prince died.