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Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

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

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

Prince left no known will when he died last April 21 and the judge overseeing the estate has yet to formally declare six of his siblings as its heirs.

But the circumstances that led up to his death remain a mystery. The documents show authorities searched Paisley Park, cellphone records of Prince's associates, and Prince's email accounts to try to determine how he got the fentanyl, a synthetic opioid drug 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Dozens of counterfeit pills were found in a search of Paisley Park, including at least one that tested positive for fentanyl. They still don't know the origin of those drugs and there has been no indication that they are poised to hold anyone responsible anytime soon. There are two likely possibilities: Either a pharmaceutical manufacturer mislabeled the pills, or the pills were illegally manufactured and obtained illegally.

"Federal prosecutors, especially, do not like to lose", said Gal Pissetzky, a Chicago-based criminal lawyer.

FILE - In this February 4, 2007, file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLI football game in Miami.

Investigators haven't interviewed either Johnson or Schulenberg since the hours after Prince died, an official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Paisley Park is scheduled to host four days of concerts, tours and other events beginning on Thursday, for the one-year anniversary of Prince's death.

Investigators said interviews with those present at Paisley Park when Prince was found - including Meron Bekure, Prince's assistant, and Johnson - gave contradictory statements about what had happened. His publicist reassured fans that the 57-year-old star was fine, but a May 6 search warrant said investigators spoke to a witness who said Prince was rushed to a hospital because he was unconscious, and that the singer had admitted to taking one or two pain pills.

While authorities have the power to ask a grand jury to investigate and issue subpoenas for testimony, that step hasn't been taken, the official said.

Johnson's attorney, F. Clayton Tyler, confirmed that his client hasn't been subpoenaed.

Detectives also discovered Prince's suitcase - which was the one found with several narcotics inside (in prescription pill bottles under Johnson's name) - had the name tag of "Peter Bravestrong" - an alias name authorities believe Prince used when he traveled in an attempt to maintain his privacy.

AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson contributed to this story from Chicago. When pressed in a recent CBS interview to talk about Prince's final days, Johnson pointed to his head and said: "Kirk has a vault". During a search warrant executed at Paisley Park on April 21, the day Prince was found dead, a suitcase was found in Prince's bedroom next to his bed.

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.

"They want to show a suspect that, even though there might be holes in the evidence, they have enough to make it look like they have you dead to center", he said. He told investigators this was the first time he had ever done something like that for Prince.

Investigators have said little about the case over the a year ago, other than it is active.

The late Prince was reportedly prescribed opioids under a false name by his doctor. Authorities haven't yet charged anyone in the case.

Prince's assistant told investigators they "had arranged a meeting between Prince and medical professionals to assess and address Prince's medical concerns", the search warrant states.

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